The tears Tim Tebow shed immediately after his team lost the 2009 SEC Championship Game were, no matter how I felt about them, of the Gator variety. Tebow clearly, and understandably, feels passionately about his team and the University of Florida and was devastated by the loss. The tears produced (squeezed out?) by Mark McGwire yesterday during his mea culpa interview with Bob Costas, however, were crocodile all the way. I don’t go looking for these athletes-who-cry stories, honestly, I don’t. But when they fall into my lap, I feel compelled to take a closer peek.
As you probably know by now, McGwire, while willing to shed a few tears and apologize, wouldn’t acknowledge that his increased strength and ability to hit a record number of home runs was a direct result of habitual steroid use. Maybe that’s because on the surface at least, Mark McGwire does not seem to be terribly bright. After all, he willingly put steroids into his body, for at least 10 years (his account), and then lied about it over and over again and while testifying under oath. Well, apparently you don’t have to be a doctoral candidate to figure out that after repeatedly failing to garner more than 24 of the required 75% of the vote needed for H.O.F. induction something had to be done. And that is what this is all about, getting back into MLB’s good graces and eventually into Cooperstown.
While I am not sure about Mark McGwire’s level of intellect, I do think he must take the rest of us for fools. Why else would he believe that we would so easily forgive him? Certainly not for saying stuff like, “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.” Well, if that’s true, why did it take you so long to ‘fess up? Why? Because it finally dawned on him that only by apologizing would he garner remarks such as these from Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, “I am pleased that Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance-enhancing substances as a player. Being truthful is always the correct course of action, which is why I had commissioned Senator George Mitchell to conduct his investigation. This statement of contrition, I believe, will make Mark’s re-entry into the game much smoother and easier.”
And there you have it, if he acts contrite, sheds a few tears, goes on a “I have sinned” tour (remember Jimmy Swaggart?) all will be forgiven and the doors to MLB’s Hall of Fame will eventually be open to him. I for one hope that never happens.