BOB: McGwire Comes Cleanby Brian Borawski
January 12, 2010
Mark McGwire confesses to steroid useMost baseball fans have what I call their “year.” This is the season where they go from baseball fan to baseball nut and for me, that year was 1987. I was 15 going on 16, balls were flying out of the park at then record numbers and my hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, mounted a spectacular comeback to win their division in the final week of the season. That was also the year that Mark McGwire took the baseball world by storm by pressing what was then an unprecedented 50 home runs in his rookie season. Outside of the Oakland Coliseum, McGwire hit more home runs in Tiger Stadium than in any other ballpark in 1987 and he touched the Tigers for nine home runs total, the most of any team that year. So I remember McGwire burning the Tigers often.
Now we fast forward nearly 23 years and McGwire has finally admitted what most people knew, that he used PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) at various points during his career. He didn’t say when specifically, but he threw out that he used it over a 10-year period. Now McGwire is a hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and while his legacy may be tarnished, he took one step toward getting some of his dignity back.
I was a Mark McGwire fan much like I’m a Barry Bonds fan and a Roger Clemens fan. Of course I don’t view them as role models, I view them as ballplayers, and I loved to watch them play. If you’ve learned anything from the Tiger Woods scandal, it’s that an athlete is a poor choice for a role model. They’re human and they make mistakes just like you and I. That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy their role in the sport. Of course there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed but even some of those athletes seem to recover. McGwire will be judged throughout his life but my bet is he won’t have to walk around as scared as he did before.
Fremont puts itself back into the gameAfter the Oakland Athletics gave up on Cisco Field in Fremont, and with the rumored move to San Jose, the city of Fremont has now stepped things up by proposing to use a site that has a soon-to-be closed auto plant. Right now, the MLB task force is compiling all of the proposals, and you wonder if this is exactly how things were planned from the beginning. If so, the A’s pulled out of Fremont after talks stalled and then used San Jose as bait to entice Oakland and Fremont (or anyone else) to compete against each other. Oakland has sent in three proposed sites recently.
The big catch is that all of the proposals have the Athletics paying for the ballpark with the municipality providing the land. The catch is that the Fremont deal would require a public vote while the Oakland plans wouldn’t. For now, the A’s have kept quiet which is a solid negotiating tactic so we’ll see who sweetens the pot next.
San Jose unveils new uniformsThe San Jose Giants took a break from complaining about the A's move to San Jose, unveiling a new home uniform that’ll be used in 2010. The new home uniform will mimic the black and orange colors of their parent team, the San Francisco Giants.
Asheville Tourists sold to DeWine familyPalace Sports and Entertainment announced that they’ll be selling the Asheville Tourists to DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball LLC. DeWine is owned by the DeWine family and the company has 10 years of experience working on the business side of sports. They’ve owned the Carolina Mudcats the past four years so they even have some baseball experience.
Asheville was an interesting fit for Palace Sports because they’re better known for owning the Detroit Pistons. Palace Sports did a nice job, though, and Asheville logged four of their best seasons at the gate under their ownership. The sale is expected to go down in March just in time for the start of the season.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.