I hated the steroid guys. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire–a Cardinal; when I heard their names even one year ago, I couldn’t think of anything good about them. After all, they cheated the game, burned down the sacred pillars of the baseball history and record books. They shortcutted it, and deserved none of my respect.
Then I started doing this.
I used to have a much less successful baseball site for a few months last year, but I shut it down after and incidents that came days prior to me writing a piece calling the 2010 Cardinals quitters. It seemed obvious. I mean, how could a team in first all year tank the last month of the season in such ugly fashion?
Not long after, I realized I was Jack Clark. Before he was fired/quit at FSN, the ex-Cardinal ranted, “I’m really tired of watching the effort, that’s for sure… I’m seeing a pathetic effort… They won’t admit it, that they’re quitters…
“We’ve got one team here [the Padres] going for the title and we’ve got our team going for the toilet. They’ve got poopy in their pants. They got skid marks in their britches. It’s just the way it is.”
Adam Wainwright, cheated out of the Cy Young Award that year, responded in kind:
“Those were stupid comments. Hopefully he knows that anyways. You got a guy who likes to hear himself talk, that’s all it is. You notice in every big situation, whether it’s McGwire or with our team, guys like that always have their opinions out in the papers.
“When you say something like that, you have to be ready for the repercussions or the comebacks. Especially when people are in this clubhouse and we hear things like that and then we’ll see this person the next year and they’ll try to be our friends and laugh and smile and talk. It’s the very same thing that started that fight in Cincinnati. Some guy [Brandon Phillips] opens his mouth and talks a bunch of trash in the papers and then tries to come out the next day and be all lovey-dovey with Molina. It’s very similar.”
That was a big reality check, one that established the only “rule” I keep in mind when I write: Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to the person’s face. It’s done me wonders; and makes me sound more professional than professional writers. In fact, I’ve tried to live by that as best I can with my speech and actions, and I really believe it has, if anything, made me a classier person and kept me from the dumps filled with rage-fueled bloggers.
I don’t know why it just hit me now, but that mentality has to spread to everybody in baseball–including the steroid users. So here’s my apology to all of them, especially McGwire, who did a fantastic job as the hitting coach of the league’s top offense this year. If I met you in real life, I wouldn’t immediately condemn you as a social outcast, so I won’t write about you like that either like I used to.
You did cheat, and your Hall of Fame credentials and records should be nulled in my opinion; but that is no reason to treat you like disgraces or as a bad person to the contrary of those who actually know you.
I have tried to unlatch myself from incorrect popular baseball opinion as best I can, but I regret to say that this area was one I didn’t let go of, until now.
Keep up the good work, Mac.