Jeff Pearlman brings the Mark McGwire sanctimony:
Worst of all, however, McGwire was a baseball thief. At the very moment his 341-foot home run landed behind the outfield fence, he robbed Roger Maris of the most important record in professional sports. He robbed the Maris family of future income from 61-related merchandising and events. He robbed the Hall of Fame — which swooped up McGwire memorabilia as if it were free Twinkies — of its credibility, he robbed those fans who spent hundreds of dollars for a ticket in order to witness history and he robbed thousands upon thousands of kids of a seemingly genuine role model.
If the baseball record book is the sport’s Holy Bible, than McGwire is a 3-year old armed with a permanent marker. The damage is not merely done — it is un-erasable. (Of course, along by such analogous measures, Barry Bonds is a 3-year-old with a permanent marker, a torch and a vat of gasoline).
Pearlman often writes how disgusted he is with what baseball has become. I can’t help but think that if he hadn’t had such a ridiculously idealistic notion of what it was in the first place, he never would have crashed so hard to begin with.