Jan. 22 -- Well, now I'm convinced

10:39 AM

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Yeah, this does it. I'd never really believed any of that huge pile of evidence, circumstantial and otherwise, that Mark McGwire did steroids. But now that his estranged, no-name, obviously-desperate-for-money brother is writing a book that says he did...wow. My eyes are open.

Sheesh.

I have two points on McGwire. I consider them unrelated, though people seem desperate to relate them. They are:

1. I do not vote for him for the Hall of Fame. I believe, on the strength of his numbers, he would qualify easily. But I also believe he cheated in an effort to attain those numbers, and my personal feeling on my role as a Hall of Fame voter is that I should not reward that. Others feel differently, which is their right. This is where I come down on McGwire. It hasn't changed so far. Could it change in the next 12 years and lead me to vote for him? Of course. But it's hard to imagine how.

2. I believe he did the game a disservice by not coming clean in front of congress, and I believe he continues to do the game a disservice with his continued silence on the issue. There would be value in an in-depth, thorough, well-informed investigation into the steroid era. (i.e., something a lot better than the scratch-the-surface Mitchell Report) Baseball could learn and grow from a hard look at the way it all went down and the reasons for it. I believe Mark McGwire, who was obviously at the center of it, could obviously help with such an investigation. And as somebody who loves the game, I wish he would.

However, this has no impact on my Hall of Fame decision regarding McGwire. Had he come clean in front of congress, or were he to apologize now, it would not change my mind. I believe he cheated in an effort to go from great player to Hall of Fame player, and I don't think it's my job to reward that. Just because a guy apologizes and admits what I already believe about him doesn't change what he did, or its impact on my decision.

I think McGwire should come clean because I think he could help the game by doing so. But the debate over whether he would/should somehow be "forgiven" or elected to Cooperstown if he came clean is, I believe, silly. And not as important as the good that could come of his (and many others') so-far-elusive honesty.

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