It’s time to move on. For the last several years, baseball has been associated with steroids, and Mark McGwire was smack in the middle of the controversy. I remember McGwire sitting in front of Congress not wanting to talk about the past. I know how that reflected poorly on baseball. I also know McGwire was so ostracized for his role in the steroid controversy that after his retirement, he completely disappeared from baseball.
This was the same guy who, with the help of Sammy Sosa, helped revitalize the sport and bring people back to the game. It was during his chase for the homerun record fans began to flock back to stadiums across the U.S.Â I still remember the day he hit his record homerun, how it barely cleared the wall and how McGwire in his exuberance nearly missed touching first as he rounded the bases. Despite being a lifelong Houston Astros fan and the Cardinals – whom McGwire played for at the time – being a divisional rival, I couldn’t help but smile as the scene played out. Despite all the steroid controversy that followed, I still look back on that day and say it was a great day for baseball.
I applaud Tony LaRussa for bringing back McGwire as the Cardinals hitting coach. McGwire has probably forgotten more about the art of hitting than Joe Schmoes like us will ever know. His knowledge of pitching tendencies and his professional approach to swinging the bat will be invaluable to the Cardinals’ organization.
Critics will point to McGwire’s past and his alleged steroid association as a reason McGwire should simply stay away from America’s pastime. There is history with McGwire, no doubt. However, for most of that history, he has shown class and professionalism. I won’t deny his alleged role in the steroid controversy has left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths, but it’s time to move on.