So, Mark McGuire, when pestered about the steroids thing, would repeatedly say, "I'm not here to discuss the past." Well, apparently, it's okay now. Of course, because he's trying to be a hitting coach and rumors are circulating that he might be attempting to relaunch his baseball career, that has nothing to do with it. This isn't helped by baseball being notorious for cheating, from spitballs to altering the height of the pitcher's and bullpen mounds. No doubt, steroids is just another wink and a nudge job to most players.
There are two moments that really had me rolling my eyes. First was the whining self-pity of McGuire's statement, how he's sorry he played during the Steroid Era. No "I cheated." No "I broke the rules." No "I misled millions of fans." Just how sorry he is that this day he said he knew was coming has arrived. The second part I love is, not to be outdone, Tony LaRussa, McGuire's manager twice, including during the home run chase, has always defended McGuire as innocent. Now, instead of admitting McGuire's admission makes him look Charlie, he says it is proof of the maturity and strength of McGuire's character as he is manning up and facing the truth. Jeeeeeeeeeezus....
You know, religion makes us do really weird shit in the name of the idols we worship. Religion is devotion to a metaphysical being that represents distilled aspects of humanity. This perspective can easily shift from beings that may or may not exist onto beings that do exist. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became a couple by busting up his marriage. They are everywhere in celeb rags and gossip columns. And people eat it up. They haven't done anything admirable (in fact, just the opposite), but they have been elevated to gods among men. The Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, these are all people that, if they were your neighbors, you'd build a fence between you and electrify it. But the bad behavior and questionable ethics are not only forgiven, but celebrated. And people will start fights over what distant being they don't truly understand and that doesn't even know they exist is better. This is not helped by these people embracing this following. One of the reasons I love Brian Setzer is when he's onstage, it's not, "Aren't I awesome?", it's "Isn't this music awesome?" He deserves a lot of praise for his skill, but he applies his skill to bringing others along for the ride he enjoys so much. He has class. Compared to Mariah Carey, whose career is a testimonial to how incredible she is, I know who I prefer giving my hard earned money to.
And so it is with sports in general, where the brand recognition and the application of diety traits collide, creating a really strange brew. For years, people like me who dismissed the records were told, "Well, that happened a long time ago, just let it go." Or, during the recent chase by Barry Bonds, we were told it didn't matter what our suspicions were, Bonds has the record. What was achieved was more important than how it was achieved. And how dare people take away someone's accomplishments. Hey, no one's proved anything yet, so shut up.
One thing self-help books and motivational gurus like to tell you is that success is easy, you just have to have the courage to take it. But that's an oversimplification. Such success is good from a personal growth standpoint, but it doesn't bring fame, notariety, idolarity, and riches. For THAT success, you don't just take it, you take it from other people who may or may not deserve it more than you, but can't or won't fight over it. You have to take something that doesn't belong to you.
If McGuire is truly sorry, he should give up all the money he's gotten from the endorsement deals and live a regular life. But he won't. He's made his pile, and he'll never have to worry about making ends meet or where his next meal is coming from or if he's going to lose his house or anything. He's sorry he got caught, he's not sorry he did what he did. No one wants to be a regular person. It's a hard life full of uncertainty. But at least we're honest about ourselves. McGuire can't even be honest. He can live with what he did, but he can't live with people saying he's a phony. So he stays in his prison, built with denial and lies, the only protection from the truth that he has.