Whitey Herzog became the latest public figure to state that if Mark McGwire is going to be a coach of the Cardinals, he needs to be open about the past about McGwire's involvement with performance enhancing drugs. Jeff Passan wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about the same topic as have others. But does McGwire owe us anything? Heck no.
Look, we all know that McGwire was a part of that story. We also know that McGwire was using an at-that-time legal supplement during his historic home run year. The story was all over the place at the time. That substance has since been banned. We also know that McGwire refused to "talk about the past" when summoned to Congress during that body's hearings on the subject. All of those things are established facts. The much (and deservedly so) maligned Jose Canseco states unequivocally that McGwire was a user and we now know that Canseco was right about nearly everything he said. But does McGwire have to come clean to be a coach?
Why? What good would it do? He's already paid the price for his past by his Hall of Fame snub the past few years. He's already got a black mark next to his name. What will change by talking about what he did and why? He can't change the past. He can't change how he is perceived. He can't change his standing among the HOF voters. He can't change the minds of fans that are forever not in his corner. So, tell this writer what could be accomplished by him facing all that scrutiny? Nothing.
McGwire will be a coach if he is willing and he will probably be a pretty darn good one. Hey, at least he didn't perjure himself like Tejada, Clemens and Palmeiro did. He didn't lie. He just refused to incriminate himself. Last the Fan looked, that's a fifth amendment right in this country.
Look, Mark McGwire was one of this Fan's favorite players of all time. He personally helped this writer through a tough personal tragedy that historic year. That year is now suspect like all of the accomplishments of Barry Bonds in subsequent years. Those stains are hard to take and they are hard to forget. Baseball has moved on with tougher testing and more stringent investigating. We don't know if things are cleaner now, but they seem to be. Let's leave it all alone. Baseball seems to have learned its lesson. Isn't that enough?
When Whitey Herzog, Jeff Passan, Tim Brown and others have a press conference and admit to the affairs they may have had or the times they cheated on their taxes, then maybe McGwire can have a press conference to admit his sins. McGwire doesn't owe anybody anything just like Tiger Woods doesn't. Hey, people pay for their "sins" in many ways. Nothing comes for free and there are consequences for every decision. McGwire's career was cut short by his own enhanced muscles giving up under the extra strain. Isn't that a consequence? His usage maybe made him millions, but in the end cost him millions too.
All this talk about what national figures owe us as for explanations is frivolous. It is a public rubbernecking that we all need to look in the mirror about. This Fan doesn't care whether McGwire ever says anything. The Fan doesn't care if Barry Bonds ever says anything. The Fan doesn't care if Sammy Sosa ever says anything. The Fan only cares about making sure the sport is cleaner from here on out. That's it in a nutshell.