A Few Things That Need Attention…

So now we finally know that Mark McGwire used steroids and performance enhancing drugs to become the home run hitter he was.  His admission and apology Monday to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, and to his former manager Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals was a slap in the face to baseball fans.

Because for years, did we ever have any doubt?  But for McGwire, who said “It was foolish” his admission came, a little too late. It won’t help his hopeful enshrinement to the Baseball Hall of Fame, nor does it help his respectability as one of the top home run hitters of all-time.

You see McGwire also admitted, years later, that he used performance enhancing drugs during that media hyped season home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998 that saw him hit a record 70 home runs.  And at that time there were always the questions about him and Sosa. Except baseball was happy then that home runs were bring hit out of the ballpark in a record pace as the game was recovering from a nasty labor war between the owners and players.

All that time the questions were being asked. The speculation was always about reconfigurations of outfield fences, or that the baseball was different and easier to hit out of the park.  Yet, guys like McGwire, Sosa, and others always denied that steroids and other body enhancement drugs were the reason.

They made us, the media, and you the fans look like fools. Because they fabricated their reasons for becoming such proficient home run hitters and all the time you looked at McGwire, you saw Sosa, and were amazed at how big the arms were, and how deep the home runs were being hit out of the park.

It made sense then, as much as it is now.  McGwire denied using performance enhancing drugs before a Congressional Committee and his 538 home runs are eighth on the career all-time list.  Barry Bonds is no angel here and will always be the center of attention with his denial of allegations that he did what McGwire did.

Baseball owners knew it was happening, and perhaps so did Commissioner Selig, Home runs put people back in the seats and players hitting the long bombs out of the park were getting their lucrative pay checks.

But getting back to the admission, Monday that is putting McGwire back on the national map.  He was appointed the hitting coach for La Russa’s Cardinals in November.  Back in baseball now and teaching hitters, hopefully the right way to hit a home run out of the ballpark.

McGwire had to finally come clean or the scrutiny would continue at every Major League ballpark in 2010.  Too bad it came years later, that admission. The home runs he hit are still questionable. They are surly under consideration when the name Mark McGwire comes up every year now for enshrinement to Cooperstown. He came up short again last week when the ballots were counted.

It would have helped him to come clean years ago when this all started, most of all telling the truth then would have diminished the bad image that baseball received and at times continues/   McGwire said he did not tell the truth then because he feared there would be legal jeopardy.

He may get those sympathizers that give a second chance, Many, in the baseball community believe the steroid home run race is still a disgrace and the punishment is always denying Mark McGwire enshrinement to the Hall of Fame. All of those home runs in the record book now with this admission deserve an asterisk.

BOXING IS DISGRACED WITH FALLOUT OF PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER:  A mediator could not get the principles involved with welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr, on a compromise over blood testing procedures and now what was supposed to be the mega fight of all time if off.

Instead the boxing world prepares for a mediocre fight.  Pacquiao will defend against Joshua Clottey the native of Ghana now residing in the Bronx. That fight will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View on March 13th, the original Pacquiao-Mayweather date, from the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium and does not have the magnitude that was anticipated with Pacquiao and Mayweather,

So where did the two fighters go wrong, as well as the promoters, in this case Bob Arum of Top Rank who promotes Pacquiao and Richard Schaefer of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions that represented Mayweather?   According to Arum, Pacquiao made some concessions as to timing of three blood samples prior to and after the fight.

The blood testing issue was the obstacle that prevented this fight from officially being announced in New York City this week. Arum requested a mediator with hopes there would be some movement to getting the top two fighters in the world in the ring. A mediator who Arum used to negotiate a proper deal for Pacquiao when is fighter left the Golden Boy promotion.

Arum is livid, so are boxing fans   The sport has once again become a travesty because of a ridiculous blood testing procedure called by Mayweather that would have been conducted anyway by the sanctioning Nevada State Athletic Commission, Mayweather wanted to use the Olympic style blood testing procedures that are done three times, Prior to the pre fight press conference, 30 days before the fight, and after the fight

Either way, the Nevada Commission would have done similar testing, and if everyone is clean there are no concerns. The biggest paydays for Pacquiao and Mayweather go down the drain.  The questions persist. Is Mayweather backing away from Pacquiao, or is Pacquiao with his initial resiliency to taking blood hiding something? Pacquiao is a record seven- division title holder having defeated Miguel Cotto last year and is going for number eight against Clottey as a junior middleweight.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:  [email protected]

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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