Jan 11

Jan. 11.10: McGwire comes clean.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

Saying he knew this day would eventually come, Mark McGwire released a statement today to the AP admitting his use of steroids. McGwire hit 583 career homers in 16 seasons, and before the steroid era he would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.

McGwire has been barely a blip of the Hall of Fame radar screen since his retirement. Many writers, myself included, said they wouldn’t vote for McGwire or any other player linked to steroids. His admission will cause for some soul searching from those writers, myself included, as to their stance now.

Honestly, an admission doesn’t alter the fact he cheated, but it’s a way of being honest to the fans and to the game. For that, whatever McGwire’s motivation, deserves some consideration. I’ve always been a believer in second chances so I might be leaning in that direction. So, in that respect, personally I’m glad he did this as it will erase the cloud hovering over him.

In the Never-say-Never Department, McGwire, now a hitting instructor with the Cardinals, could be activated says manager Tony La Russa. Should that happen, the clock would go back and wouldn’t start ticking until he retires for good. It would be interesting to see the reaction McGwire would receive, but it would be more interesting to see if he has anything left for real.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.


Some excerpts to his release:

* “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

• “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”

• “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.”

Technically, McGwire never lied to Congress, he just looked weak saying he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Rafael Palmeiro – all with 500 career homers – have been linked, or suspected of using steriods.

Do you feel better about McGwire now, or didn’t it matter either way?

Sep 17

Some perspective on Tatis

This quote from Jerry Manuel on Fernando Tatis is surprising: “”When we lose Tatis, we definitely have to reassess where we are offensively.”

Huh?

He came out of nowhere and had a good season, but the truth is he is a role player. He was part of a platoon. You reassess with a full time starter.

The Mets will miss Tatis, and the cynic in me says they’ll do so because the Big Three has stopped hitting. Losing Tatis should mean more Daniel Murphy, and hopefully that will include against lefty pitchers.

There was a spark to the offense with Murphy batting second that has gone. The Mets need that back.

As far as Tatis is concerned, he gave the Mets more than they could have hoped for when they signed him and he deserves to be brought back.

Tatis separated his shoulder trying to make a diving catch on pitcher Odalis Perez’s double. He is gone for the remainder of the season and that includes the playoffs.

“He’s done,” Manuel said. “That’s very discouraging, to lose a big piece of where we are and what we’ve accomplished so far.”

Tatis hit .297 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI filling in for Moises Alou and Ryan Church.

Alou, by the way, hasn’t said anything about retirement.

Sep 08

Wagner done for year, maybe for career?

When Billy Wagner was healthy and popping off on a regular basis, he often joked about retirement. He liked the idea of going out on his terms.

That’s gone now.

Wagner will have surgery to repair a torn MCL in his left elbow, and with recovery time of one year, we’re talking 2010. Wagner has his money, but what remains to be seen is whether he’ll have peace of mine and be willing to leave like this. No athlete wants to leave the game injured.

“That was a scenario that I was not expecting,” general manager Omar Minaya said today.

Wagner walked off the mound during a bullpen session Sunday afternoon. At 37, he has one year and $10.5 million left on the contract signed before the 2006 season.

The Mets hold an $8 million option for 2010, which they likely would not pick up without having seen him pitch next year.

Wagner saved 101 of his 385 career games with the Mets and was a two-time all-star. He lived up to his end of the bargain. Yes, he had blown saves, but nobody quite blew a save like Wagner.

Wagner went on the DL with a strained left forearm, Aug. 5, and the team has gone to a closer-by-committee role. Things were spotty at first, but Luis Ayala settled into the role by converting five of six save opportunities.

“Surgery was always a possibility if things did not get better,” Minaya said. “And we’re at the point right now where things did not get better. … In a lot of ways, you almost got the feeling that we were going to have to do this without Billy. Baseball is not about one guy. It’s about a team, and the concept of togetherness.”