A League of Her Own

Tuesday Cubs Headlines: Steroids, Sheets, and So Much More

(FILE PHOTO) Mark McGwire Admits To Steroid Use

NOW Mark McGwire is here to talk about the past:

"NEW YORK - Sobbing and sniffling, Mark McGwire finally answered the steroid question.

Ending more than a decade of denials and evasion, McGwire admitted Monday what many had suspected for so long -- that steroids and human growth hormone helped make him a home run king.

"The toughest thing is my wife, my parents, close friends have had no idea that I hid it from them all this time," he told The Associated Press in an emotional, 20-minute interview. "I knew this day was going to come. I didn't know when."

Before we get any further, let's not insult our friends and family, Mark. I think they probably had SOME idea. Also, I'm guessing this day came when you realized you had no shot at getting into the HOF without coming clean.

 But please. Continue.

"It was a wrong thing what I did. I totally regret it. I just wish I was never in that era," he said.

McGwire even understands why the Maris family now believes that Maris' 61 homers in 1961 should be considered authentic record.

"They have every right to," McGwire said in an interview on the MLB Network.

McGwire continued to blubber through the rest of an interview, proving to us once and for all that a) he has a very limited vocabularly ("He's very understandable," he said of his now-22 year old son) and b) by 1998, he'd been using steroids for at least 5 years.

Also, he's pretty much in total denial that the fact that he was able to stay healthy through the use of steroids had any influence at all on his ability to hit massive amounts of HRs:

He said he returned to steroids after the 1993 season, when he missed all but 27 games with a mysterious heel injury, after being told steroids might speed his recovery.

"I did this for health purposes. There's no way I did this for any type of strength purposes," he said.

"I truly believe I was given the gifts from the Man Upstairs of being a home run hitter, ever since ... birth," McGwire said. "My first hit as a Little Leaguer was a home run. I mean, they still talk about the home runs I hit in high school, in Legion ball. I led the nation in home runs in college, and then all the way up to my rookie year, 49 home runs.

(snip)

McGwire wasn't sure whether his use of performance-enhancing drugs contributed to some of the injuries that led to his retirement, at age 38, in 2001.

"It could have. I don't know," he said.

So there you have it, kids. He's sorry about doing it, even though it had no influence on his ability to break the HR record. And the Maris family has every right to believe that Roger Maris' 60-HR season should still stand as the record, even though he could have done it anyway. And he hopes that everyone will be very understandable about his admission of cheating. Can he please have his HOF thingy, now?

Look, I understand the school of thought that EVERYONE was doing it (which I've never entirely bought into), that he was a great player BEFORE he started using steroids (49 HRs his rookie season, after all), and that, in life, everyone cheats and lies from time to time. And if you're of the belief that anyone who has ever lied or cheated at any time in their life has no business commenting on McGwire's uh.  . .  transgressions, then there's not much I can do to change your mind.

I will say, however, that even if you believe that steroids don't help you hit HRs (a point which we've dicussed here over and over and over, so let's just leave that one alone), there have probably been hundreds, even thousands, of players who could have been HOF-caliber players, had they been able to stay healthy. Guys who never made it out of the minors, never made it into the starting rotation on a regular basis, were never able to come back from that one injury that made it impossible for them to be the player they could have been.

Why hello, Mark Prior.

Using steroids to stay healthy is just as distasteful as using them to hit HRs. Staying healthy and in the game is part of the game. There's no debate that PEDs, particularly HGH, help guys heal faster and get back into the lineup more quickly. It's an unfair advantage over those guys who aren't taking them. And that's cheating. If you don't have a problem with cheating, which I know is the position many of you take, then that's an entirely different conversation.

As for our giant-headed, gray-skinned, newly-green-eyed friend, he had no comment:

Sammy Sosa was in no mood to talk about Mark McGwire on Monday, issuing a "no comment" from his home in Miami through his spokesperson.

Okay, then.

Hey, Ben Sheets fans, good news!  We're still in the running to give Ben Sheets WAY more money than he deserves:

The Cubs plan to make a run at free-agent pitcher Ben Sheets, who will work out for teams later this month.

General manager Jim Hendry declined to comment, but he spoke to Sheets' agent at the winter meetings in Indianapolis and major-league sources say the Cubs are one of Sheet's preferred destinations.

Sheets reportedly has been asking for a two-year deal averaging around $10 million to $12 million per year, but the Cubs believe they have a good shot at landing him with an incentive-laden deal.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a short-term, incentive-laden flier on Sheets. I just fully expect Hendry to offer 3 years at $36 million with a full no-trade clause.

Condolences from all of us here at LOHO go out to Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman, whose brother was killed in Venezuela yesterday:

CHICAGO -- The brother of Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman died of gunshot wounds Monday after he was a victim of an alleged assault in Venezuela, according to one of the country's newspapers, El Universal.

Daniel Guzman, a drummer for a Venezuelan rock band, was traveling in a Grand Cherokee in Las Mercedes, located within Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, on Monday morning with at least two other people. Three armed men intercepted their SUV and one of the armed men shot towards the car, injuring two of the three people. Daniel Guzman died shortly after sustaining the gunshot wounds.

The newspaper's report stated that suspects and motives of the shooting are still unknown.

Angel Guzman was not in the vehicle. Cubs officials have talked to the 28-year-old pitcher to offer condolences. Guzman made 55 relief appearances for the Cubs in 2009.

Heeeeey, did you know that Cubs Con is on Friday? You did? Well, did you know that a bunch of us are getting together at Kitty O'Shea's on Friday night (7:30-ish) to hang out and argue about the Cubs? Well we are. Details here.  

And, in addition, to a tentative LOHO podcast live from Cubs Con (details coming), my podcast buddy Alex Quigley and I will be on WGN radio Satuday morning at 9:30 AM CT to discuss all things Chicago sportsy.

I'm headed to court this morning, so I unfortunately won't be around to defend myself when the inevitable flaming over my annoyance with Mark McGwire flares up. In exchange, please accept this video of a random guy doing a bunch of Cubs batting stances:

 

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57 Comments

Doc said:

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Now that Mark McGuire has come forward and admitted using steroids, it's high time other highly suspected players come forward and admit their use too, like Ronny Cedeno. Bastards.

gravedigger said:

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I don't remember seeing this here. Sandberg is going to manage Iowa.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/story?id=4817439

flyball said:

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yay Sandberg!

JulieDiCaro said:

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That was from like a month ago.

flyball said:

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well, a month ago I was kinda busy

gravedigger said:

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Serious? I don't remember that. Weird. Neither does ESPN, because they've got it as a new news item on their site.

AndCounting said:

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I think the announcement was made awhile ago, but they introduced him to the press yesterday.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Mark McGwire regrets being a part of the "Steroid Era" - what era do you regret being a part of?

I, for one, regret being part of the country line-dancing era.

AndCounting said:

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I was born in the Disco Era. I regret that.

gravedigger said:

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The American Idol era.

flyball said:

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do you remember those flannel overalls that people would wear with one strap up one strap down? yeah, I regret having to witness that era

AndCounting said:

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I'm sorry. I let you down.

MN Pat said:

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I regret being part of the perm-mullet era.

thisyearcub said:

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The Chip Caray as a Cubs announcer era.

gravedigger said:

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I never realized how bad he was till he was gone. Which is amazing. Because he is atrocious.

millertime said:

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The Carlos Silva era.

JulieDiCaro said:

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*snort*

MillsChC said:

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The Chicago Now era.

JulieDiCaro said:

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awwwwwww. :(

cubsforever said:

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The "All baseball Fans are Stupid and Gullible Era" - just ask - let's see - McGuire, Sosa, Clemens, A-Rod, Palmeiro, Bonds, Conseco, and the list goeson ------ these guys make Pete Rose look like an Alter Boy ----

gravedigger said:

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Pete Rose was molested by a priest?

FrankS said:

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Let's see, the guys using PED's were trying to find a competitive edge, something that athletes in all sports have been doing for forever. Pete Rose was involved with gambling on his team's games, affecting his decisions in some games that could cause his team to lose other games.

And then we can talk about the whole tax evasion deal. How he had two little old ladies sign his autographs for him. That he had close connections to a drug dealer. Altar boy my ass.

gravedigger said:

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Is that all true? Two old ladies? haha, I love Pete Rose.

FrankS said:

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So you guys really believe that Mark McGwire is telling the total and absolute truth regarding his use of PEDs? I don't.

flyball said:

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I doubt that any of these guys will ever tell the absolute truth, for one thing I think most people, even when trying to come clean and admit guilt on anything, will always keep just a little bit to themselves, its human nature

gravedigger said:

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I agree 100%

AndCounting said:

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Maybe I'm just a liar who can't believe anyone else, but I think there's at least a shade of deception in almost everything everyone says about themselves. But I believe him when he says he took steroids. I'm sure he'd like to believe he took them to heal from injury, but here's what you have to remember: building muscle is essentially healing from injury. He'd take Andro (legal at the time) to enable him to work out longer, leading to more significant muscle "tear down" in the muscle tissue--and then anabolic steroids enhance more rapid healing and muscle build up after those workouts.

All of that leads to a freakishly strong guy who got injured and then got better . . . a lot better. So technically, any steroid user could say, "I only used steroids to heal from injury," because weight training is by nature temporarily injurious to muscle tissue. Steroids make it worth their while, though, what with one of the side effects being that in the end you're freakishly strong.

Max Power said:

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Whoever called you a liar has pissed me right off. Give me a name - I'll take care of it.

Your take on McGwire made me laugh, as I hadn't really thought of it that way. It reminds me of the people who bought into tax shelters that, on paper, were completely legal....except that no one ever executed (or ever intended to execute) the shelter in that legal fashion.

If you have to rely on a defense of "technically, it's not inaccurate to say..." (which everyone has done at some point, to be fair), it's not a great sign.

JulieDiCaro said:

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It was kind of funny on the radio this morning. Mully and Hanley were talking about a book a group of journalists wrote about the steroid age. Apparently McGwire used to advise other guys in the clubhouse about what steroids to use, but had all his information wrong--like what steroids did what and led to what benefit.

One thing I think we call can agree on: Mark McGwire is not a smart man.

gravedigger said:

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Yes, even his biggest fans (myself included) will have to acknowledge that. He almost seems like he knows it, too, and is at peace with that.

plamorte said:

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Just want to say thanks for spelling McGwire correctly...I've seen more than one published blog posts with a couple variations of it, t'was grinding my gears!

AndCounting said:

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For real. I saw one place that spelled it, "McJuice." That's not even close.

gravedigger said:

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That seriously made me LOL. Post of the day.

Max Power said:

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Ditto that.

MillsChC said:

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There used to be some Cubs front office guy (or maybe there still is), whose name was Mark McGuire, with a "U" instead of a "W". Over the past 24 hours, I've seen the McGuire version more than the correct one.

Drew said:

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aren't players allowed to get exemptions for steroids when they need them to recover from injury? I believe that all these guys should be in the HOF, but that excuse in particular doesn't really fly...

AndCounting said:

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According to this ESPN report http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4817722 the FBI knew about McGwire's steroid use (and a lot of it) as early as 1993. And MLB was told about it in '94.

And it only took ESPN 17 years to break that story.

JulieDiCaro said:

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There was an orthapedic (that looks wrong) who called into the Score this morning and said that steroids help you heal in only very limited circumstances. That they have to be injected directly into the damamged tissue to have any benefit. In other words, just shooting yourself in the ass to help yourself "heal" from injuries doesn't work---it just makes you add more muscle, which is harder on connective tissue and leads to more injuries.

He also thought McGwire's claim that he took steroids to heal a bi-lateral heel tear was bs. He said the only people who got bi-lateral heel tears were old people with rheumatoid arthritis and guys on steroids.

LOL

gravedigger said:

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Oh, so now you think rheumatoid arthritis is a laughing matter?

JulieDiCaro said:

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One thing that pisses me off and one thing that makes me happy:

1) "I wish I'd never played in the steroid era. I wish we'd had testing." The rest of that sentence is "because if I thought I'd get caught, I wouldn't have done it." Asshole.

and

2) The Cardinals might have hired the dumbest person in the history of the world to be their hitting coach. He can barealy even form a cohererent sentence. If they listen to him, Cards players are just going to go up to the plate, stand there, and probably get beaned. Which I am NOT complaining about.

2)

gravedigger said:

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Then again, I know people who are functionally retarded in 95% of their life, but when it comes to one little specialty, they know it so thoroughly, inside and out, and they can teach people all kinds of stuff, even if they communicate like Mark McGwire. Maybe hitting is his 5%.

gravedigger said:

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Of course Canseco has to rear his head. I LOL'd:

Canseco, whose book "Juiced" fueled congressional hearings into performance-enhancing drugs in 2005, revisited one topic Tuesday that he wrote about in the book: that he and McGwire injected each other with steroids in the clubhouse bathroom stalls before games when they were teammates with the Oakland Athletics from 1986-92.

McGwire denied that claim in an interview Monday night on the MLB Network, telling interviewer Bob Costas that it wasn't true and that Canseco must have made the claim to help sell "Juiced."

"I've got no problems with a few of the things he's saying, but again, it's ironic and strange that Mark McGwire denies that I injected him with steroids. He's calling me a liar again," Canseco said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I've defended Mark, I've said a lot of good things about him, but I can't believe he just called me a liar.

"There is something very strange going on here, and I'm wondering what it is. I even polygraphed that subject matter, that I injected him, and passed it completely. So I want to challenge him on national TV to a polygraph examination. I want to see him call me a liar under a polygraph examination."

MillsChC said:

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Someone should direct Canseco to the Penn & Teller episode about polygraphs.

JulieDiCaro said:

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And it should be required viewing for all cops.

Maim said:

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I heard him on Waddle & Silvy. Also...he believes wholeheartedly that the Cards are going to put McGwire in the lineup.

gravedigger said:

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I want to say something regarding McGwire regarding the "cheating" aspect, something that I was thinking about after reading Rob Neyer's article on ESPN.com.

A lot of people are quick to jump on McGwire and say he is not Hall worthy because he was a cheater. But as Neyer points out, there really is a culture of "it's not cheating if you don't get caught" in baseball. Greg Maddux is known to smirk and skirt the question when asked if he ever cheated on the mound. Before 9/11, you could be virtually certain that every Dominican player was not the age that his birth certificate claimed. The Cardinals use videocameras to record their competition practicing. These are exaggerated examples that prove a point: cheating exists all over baseball.

It only matters if you get caught.

So, are people shaming McGwire because of what he did, or because he got caught? And I know someone will argue that these instances of cheating merit different weight, but I don't think so. Breaking the rules is breaking the rules. And people are ridiculing McGwire, deep down, because he got caught, not because of what he did.

And on top of that I'm guessing members of this site, as well as members of society at large, cheat at things all the time. You break the speed limit, you illegally download songs, you don't report some side income on your taxes. We all take advantage of things to get ahead. McGwire and the baseball players were no different, and just like you'll speed if there's no cop around, baseball players will cheat when there's no real incentive not to.

I'm tired of the self-righteous indignation people demonstrate toward McGwire and baseball players who used steroids. Their cheating is just more public and they get paid more. But on the grand scheme of things, it isn't any worse than any of us do.

So get the fuck over it.

flyball said:

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to be honest, I don't really care if he cheated, because you are correct, in baseball its not cheating to steal signs unless you get caught, of course there is retaliation, so maybe instead of not allowing him into the HoF they just bean him in the dugout at every game. That being said, the "everyone else does it why shouldn't I" argument is a complete cop out, if its wrong you shouldn't do it because its wrong.

I do however care a little bit about drug use, but in the way that I care when anyone with a celebrity status uses drugs, I'm not going to vilify McGwire for it, but I don't have to like him either

and apologizing, confessing, explaining or excusing it years and years later is annoying to me

gravedigger said:

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I totally agree with your last point. I'd have loved it if he just sat stone-faced in the dugout all year.

I'd generally also agree that "everyone else does it, why shouldn't I" is stupid reasoning, except when it applies to something that has existed since humans started walking upright. It isn't going to change, and its just ridiculously hypocritical for someont to sit here pounding the keyboard about what a jagoff these players are when, in the other window, they're illegally downloading songs.

flyball said:

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so what is the threshold where it is ok to stand up and say "no, thats wrong, you can't do that" and not be hypocritical?

gravedigger said:

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Murder or Madoff.

Honestly, I don't know. Maybe when it adversely affects someone else. McGwire and others didn't, because they didn't harm anyone. If players who didn't cheat want to claim that they were harmed, I'm sure they cheated in some other way. Also, they could have just cheated too.

Maybe I'm just entirely too cynical.

gravedigger said:

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OK, but things like this:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/12/wilstein.mcgwire.ban/index.html

Mark McGwire deserves a ban from baseball. Really?

Steve Wilstein has never done a bad thing in his entire life, so he is allowed to be uber judgmental. Asshat.

Edelweiss said:

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There is payback, however. Steroid use shrinks the man parts. Wait...maybe that is what happened to a former Cubs pitcher.

MN Pat said:

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As a teacher I am decidedly not a fan of cheating, and so I tend to be a bit idealistic about it. But here's a similar situation in a different context: Last semester in my writing class (college freshman) I had a student who was struggling with basic grammar and sentences. I kept asking him to get assistance in those areas. For his final paper he turned in something that was completely error-free and quite good. When I confronted him about my suspicions that someone else had written it for him (because no one gets that good overnight) he complained that he was just doing what I told him to do - he got assistance. Why should it matter whose words they were when the ideas were his? That led to a conversation about appropriate levels of assistance and the point at which your work becomes someone else's work.

That's the same way I see this whole steroid thing. At what point does McGwire's career as a baseball player become the steroids' career as a baseball player? On his own McGwire could not have done what he did (or maybe he could have, but he chose not to.) Thus he does not belong in the Hall. Steroids did the work, so if anyone belongs in the hall it's his steroids.

gravedigger said:

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I think maybe the steroids did like 1% of the work. And given how many injuries they probably caused, did more harm than they ever did good.

Maim said:

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"... if anyone belongs in the hall it's his steroids."

This quote is awesome.

Doc said:

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I hate talking about retired (or retarded) Cardinals.

We need Jim Hendry to make some bone-headed move this week so we have something about the Cubs to complain about.

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