Reaction to the Mark McGwire admission of steroids…athletes are not role models….

January 13, 2010

Manny, the doctor just gave you the wrong prespcription

I am tired of the discussion of steroids.  There is such a double standard in the discussion that it sickens me.  People loved it when the home runs were flying out of the park, now they are quick to get on their soapbox and condemn the behavior of athletes that used.  One of the main memes that have been bandied about is that the kids who use look up to the athletes and we need to get them off drugs, so other kids will not use them.  One of the many sad stories that they use is the story of Taylor Hooten.

Taylor Hooton, a 16-year old, 6′ 2″, 180 pound, muscular high school athlete was told by his high school coach that “he needed to be bigger” in order to effectively compete in his senior year.

Like others on his team, Taylor decided to take a short cut to help him achieve his objective. Unfortunately in his efforts to “get bigger”, Taylor was unaware of the depression he would experience as a result of using anabolic steroids.

On July 15, 2003, Taylor took his own life.

Now that is a sad story.  Kids shouldn’t do drugs.  But adults are a different story.  If we WANT to do them, then we should be able.  We know that there is no medical benefit to smoking, but we just regulate the usage to avoid kids from using.  But, they get them anyway.  Why is there no ban on tobacco?  There is too much money in tobacco.

Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Rafael Palmerio in the locker room after practice

What should be clear is that athletes should not be role models.  Parents, take control of your kids life.  Brent Mayne, a former major league catcher, had this to say about McGwire’s admission on MLB.tv

I’ve got to say that his answers to these questions are totally false….ON WHETHER HE THINKS HE WOULD STILL HAVE PERFORMED AS WELL WITHOUT STEROIDS:
“I truly believe so. I believe I was given this gift. The only reason I took steroids was for my health purposes. I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes… I’ve always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter. There’s not a pill or an injection that is going to give me — or any athlete — the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball. A pill or an injection will not hit a baseball.”

I flat out disagree and I’m bummed that he’s taking this “health purpose” angle. First and foremost, YES you did take steroids for strength purposes and YES your bat speed and power were enhanced by them. I can’t even believe that he’s saying that.

Mark’s right that there isn’t a pill that gives someone great hand eye coordination, but it’s so much deeper than that. Strength makes up for so many mechanical shortcomings. In other words, the stronger you are, the less spot on you’ve got to be with your technique. Mark could miss-hit balls that would go out of the park or have enough on them to get in the gaps. I on the other hand (and all the others before the steroid era) had to square a ball exactly to get it through the hole or out of the park.

So YES Mark, steroids make you stronger and YES it has a huge impact on the results! Why would you call the Maris to apologize if it didn’t?

And another thing. And this may be more important than anything…especially in a game that is every bit as mental as physical. Newsflash! Steroids are a DRUG. As in, cocaine is a DRUG. They both make you feel like superman. People are consistently undervaluing the effect of the mental edge steroids/PEDs give an athlete. At the highest levels confidence is HUGE, feeling good is HUGE. The athlete who feels fresh, who is confident, who feels like a thousand pound gorilla, is going to dominate. Especially when you’re grinding out 162 games.

McGwire alluded to this when he mentions he used steroids for his health and to feel better. Look Mark, we all want to feel better! Somedays you just don’t and you’ve got to learn how to deal with that. We all have to deal with injuries and not playing at 100%. This is part of life and part of being a ballplayer. Learning how to compete with what you’ve got and how to stay healthy IS being a big leaguer!

ASKED REPEATEDLY BY COSTAS IF HE BELIEVED THAT HIS STATISTICS AND RECORDS WERE LEGITIMATE IN LIGHT OF THE DISCLOSURE…
McGwire did not budge. “Absolutely,” he said. “I truly believe so.”

I totally disagree. It helped him mentally and physically and his statistics reflect this fact. I think Mark’s failure to acknowledge this disrespects the greats of the past and those who didn’t use. Oh well….life goes on.

Plus, Al-Quida tried to kill my daddy!

The only thing that he got right is that life will go on.  Looking at his outrage for the effects of steroids, how are those different than using greenies?  Or the coke era of the 70’s and 80’s?  All of those things are drugs and they make you feel invincible.  So, should we take Hank Aaron’s records or the records of Willie Mays, because they were drug users?  Or take Roger Maris’s records?  The definitive statement was made by Mike Celizec FIVE YEARS AGO on this topic.  Quit being such a hypocrite…

You can’t even talk about taking away his records or diminishing them. He did what he was allowed to do. No one can get punished for that. If you take away his MVPs and home runs, then take away Don Sutton’s and Gaylord Perry’s Hall of Fame plaques. Take way Norm Cash’s batting title. Take away Mike Scott’s perfect game. They all cheated, just as surely as Bonds and Giambi did, as surely as Ken Caminiti did. As surely as more players that you want to know about did.What Bonds and these others did was deeply rooted in the game. Pete Rose and most players of his generation couldn’t take batting practice without first downing a handful of “greenies” — amphetamines. Willie Mays kept a bottle of “red juice” in his locker — the same stuff as greenies, but in a liquid form. We can’t say Hank Aaron was clean, because we don’t know what stimulants he took, if any. We can’t vouch for anyone’s purity.

That’s the reality, folks. And if Bonds is now revealed as a cheater, where is the element of surprise? We’ve known he wasn’t natural for half a decade or more. But we kept watching him and writing about him and calling him the greatest thing since pine tar.

So did he go from great to a fraud? Or did we go from incredibly naïve to equally judgmental?

We wanted to be fooled and most of America took the blue pill, instead of the read one.

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