I do think one of the side benefits to this is that it is going to make McGwire talk about his past, as it were. I know that Mike and Nick disagreed with me last night on the radio show, but I don't think McGwire takes himself out of the shadows and puts himself into the spotlight unless he's ready to deal with the issue.
It's not going to go away. Unless he gives a definitive statement and answers questions, it's going to follow him all year long. If he does do that, then he can more legitimately say, "Guys, I've answered that and I'm not talking about it again."
If he wants to be an effective hitting coach and not just a sideshow, he's got to get past the issue, at least for reasonable people.
As an actual coach, I'm interested to see what he can bring to the table. I know Schumaker's done wonders from working with him, but you also have some that still struggled after his instruction. We'll see what he can do with full-time access to players.
is proven to be one of the top hitting coaches on the market. Should the Cardinals hire him? Will there be a fan backlash?
McGwire must address the PED issues from the onset in order to lessen the media scrutiny he will face. Many star players have moved past the issue to where it is a footnote (instead of the main byline) to their career. This is important to his image, his hall of fame chances and (less importantly) my opinion of him. Without addressing the issue, he could easily become a distraction to the team and a target for negative media. If he puts everything behind him, he could be a major coup for this team.
The Cardinals aren’t the first team to try to hire McGwire as a hitting coach and he isn’t some novelty act. He has a proven history of helping players become better hitters and could bring a lot to a team. His credentials are numerous and intriguing. Yes, he was a hall of fame caliber hitter, but a great hitter does not always translate into a great hitting coach ( , for example). When people site his career as why he will/or won’t be a good hitting coach they are (respectfully) missing the point.
From what I gather, he brings many admirable qualities to the position. He supposedly has an eye for video and how it translates to each hitter, a varied approach to driving the ball (home run hitters and singles hitters), plate discipline teachings and a respect (from players) that may even be greater than . You won’t see hitters tuning him out like they did McRae last year.
The fan backlash is overstated by the media (and bloggers). If you read the comment sections on the post dispatch, you would think that McGwire is going to have a rough time with the fans. What is amazing to me is how unrepresentative this form of media is to the masses. Most of the people that comment are the people that feel strongly against him being on the team. The Post Dispatch ran a poll online and found over 80% of the people were in favor of the move.
McGwire’s “celebrity” has its disadvantages, but there is a positive side. He has an added value of taking pressure off of Pujols. For the first time in many years, Albert will not be the main focus of sportswriters during spring training. This can only help our best hitter and make it easier for him to prepare.
The Cardinals are taking a chance on Big Mac, but winning is the main objective. He may have the ability to help them do this. After their first round flameout from last year, what do they have to lose?
My own thoughts? I think it all comes down to team performance. Unless Big Mac comes completely clean before the season starts, he is going to be a distraction, but there is a very good chance he could improve our hitters. I big criticism of McRae was that he preached a free-swinging style. The Cards have been among the worst in the majors at drawing walks the last few years, especially if you take Albert out of the equation. Another area I see a need for improvement is hitting with runners in scoring position. If we improve under these two areas with McGwire, we'll win more games, and whatever distractions there are will be worth it. Maybe it's morally corrupt of me to think of it in such a bottom-line way, but that's the way I view baseball. Anyway, I appreciate everyone who participated. There is only a couple of more days left in the roundtable, so I hope everyone checks them out! Till next season......