They Made Canseco Look Good

I do not know who Mark McGwire retained as counsel, but he ought to fire whomever told him to spout this nonsense at a Congressional hearing:

Former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire refused to answer questions about steroid use during his playing career at a congressional hearing Thursday, repeatedly telling a House committee he was "not here to talk about the past."

As anyone could have predicted, this went over like a ton of bricks and all the major newspapers went with "McGwire won't talk" as the theme of their front-page coverage. Sportwriters, who disagree with each other as part of their genetic makeup, are unanimous that McGwire's performance did irreparable damage to his image, singlehandedly asterisked his home run record, and may cost him a first ballot Hall of Fame vote, if not HOF status completely.

The larger story, though, is that somehow, in the bizarro world of Congressional hearings and Major League Baseball, Jose Canseco came off as the most reasonable, truthful, reliable person involved. Rafael Palmeiro may have gotten just angry enough to absolve himself, but neither Schilling's backing off his years of steroid-bashing nor Sammy Sosa pretending he didn't speak English were any more credible than McGwire's interest in looking to make a "positive influence."

All in all, a horrendous day for a sport I love, but one that Selig, Fehr, and these cheaters we call baseball players richly deserved.