In case you missed it this afternoon, a report which started in St. Louis and has already spread like wildfire in an Androstenedione factory, Mark McGwire is about to become the Dodgers next hitting coach. And I’m disappointed.

I’m not sure how you’d term push-back that comes in advance, but here it is. Fellow IBWAA member and mostly baseball savvy Dodgers blogger Mike Petriello, and Bob Timmermann got the ball rolling for the we’re-smarter-and-why-the-hell-not crowd with this Twitter exchange.

Well I’m no Bill Plaschke, but you can certainly count me among the righteously indignant. I’ve been writing and ranting about drug abuse in baseball for years, and I’ve said consistently that not only do I have no patience for this kind of crap, but that every last one of these performance-enhancing-drug-cheats is a gigantic (pun intended) piece of bleep. There are degrees of bleepness, sure, but they’re all bleepers.

And look, I love the Dodgers. You know I love the Dodgers, but I want and expect better. Of course, the current regime had nothing to do with the cheating of the past.  Obviously. But the organization has a history with steroids, and it’s not a good one.

In fact, the Dodgers are mentioned 54 times in the Mitchell Report. That’s not to say that there are 54 instances of PED use or bad behavior by the club, but you get the idea. For comparison, the search term “Yankees” comes up 43 times, “Rangers” 29 and “Athletics” 23. Barry Bonds is mentioned 95 times, Roger Clemens 74 times and McGwire 33.

Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagne and Matt Herges are featured players, Todd Hundley, Jay Gibbons, F.P. Santangelo, of course Steve Howe, and several others with connections to Los Angeles are mentioned in the report. You know about Gary Bennett, Jr., Guillermo Mota, and Manny Ramirez, each of whom was either acquired, or in one case, celebrated after testing positive for PEDs and being suspended from the game.

Here’s what I said about Manny the day the news of his Dodgers suspension was announced, May 7, 2009.

But we need to be objective here. It doesn’t matter that Manny is our guy, our player. If anything, it’s more important for us to take the opposite position. We can’t rail on Bonds and Sosa and McGwire, et al., and leave Ramirez alone. We just can’t.

San Francisco, we are not. This is Los Angeles. Manny is a Dodger. It’s right for him to be held to a higher standard. The Giants enabled Barry for years, their heads in the sand the entire time. The pioneering Dodgers simply cannot do the same.

We can debate the sincerity of the obligatory news conference slash disgraced-ballplayer apology if you like, and I’m all for guys getting second chances,  but how do you define “second chances” exactly? Is it having your apology accepted and being treated as something other than the pariah you were previously? Is it the Hall of Fame or gainful employment in Major League Baseball?

These are semi-rhetorical questions, but however you answer them McGwire has gotten more than his fair share of second chances already. He enjoyed a comeback in a city where he’s loved – St. Louis – and he’s got a World Series ring to cherish for the rest of his life, which he no doubt earned. His name is still on the Cooperstown ballot, and he may one day make it.

But his services are not required in L.A. I’m sorry, but they’re just not.

And there’s not a hitting coach in America who is a sure bet to fix what ails the Dodgers – or what ailed them in 2012, anyway – nor will there be any telling whether a single coach made the difference if the team wins it all in 2013, while leading the National League in all manner of offensive categories.

There are other candidates available, some more qualified than Mark McGwire, and I’d prefer the Dodgers go another direction. And lead, as is more often than not the Dodger way.

Please follow me on Twitter @Howard_Cole

 

12 responses


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disappointed; NO;
 
i like M.M.; not just by default either.
 
not like anybody other than mickey hatcher.
 
big mac is a solid professional & at the end of the
day, he could hit the ball & can help other players.
 
would you prefer barry bonds ?

November 2, 2012 9:12 pm

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YOU THE MAN HOWIE

November 2, 2012 9:18 pm

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I imagine that Lance Armstrong may be available as an endurance coach

November 2, 2012 9:53 pm

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I’m with you, Howard.  Cheater, liar, loser.  Personally, I’ll boo him every single time I see him at a game.

November 2, 2012 9:53 pm

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I have a hard time believing that the Dodgers would now voluntarily associate the team with ANYONE who has been tarred with the drug abuse brush, unless it had been proven “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that said person was completely innocent.
Does any MLB fan seriously doubt that MM was juiced up?  Seriously?  He’s another Barry Bonds, a man who could have been a slam-dunk for the HOF, in my opinion, WITHOUT panicking over his own god-given talent not being enough to make him a super star.
I still remember Bonds with Pittsburgh – what an absolutely great ballplayer he was (and weighed about 100 pounds less than during his record-settig feats with SF).  Now I have NO respect for him – before anyone says steroids won’t help you hit a major league curve, steroids will definitely help you hit more over the fence than you used to.  Bonds almost doubled his HR production per at bats about the time the sports establishment noticed his bulking up and started thinking “drugs”.
Yes, I think MM would make an excellent hitting coach – of course, he obviously knows how to hit – but is that the  image for the Dodgers to offer the public?
Start fresh and clean, Dodgers…

November 2, 2012 10:39 pm

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I have a hard time believing that the Dodgers would now voluntarily associate the team with ANYONE who has been tarred with the drug abuse brush, unless it had been proven “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that said person was completely innocent.
Does any MLB fan seriously doubt that MM was juiced up?  Seriously?  He’s another Barry Bonds, a man who could have been a slam-dunk for the HOF, in my opinion, WITHOUT panicking over his own god-given talent not being enough to make him a super star.
I still remember Bonds with Pittsburgh – what an absolutely great ballplayer he was (and weighed about 100 pounds less than during his record-setting feats with SF).  Now I have NO respect for him – before anyone says steroids won’t help you hit a major league curve, steroids will definitely help you hit more over the fence than you used to.  Bonds almost doubled his HR production per at bats about the time the sports establishment noticed him bulking up and started thinking “drugs”.
Yes, I think MM would make an excellent hitting coach – of course, he obviously knows how to hit – but is that the  image for the Dodgers to offer the public?
Start fresh and clean, Dodgers…

November 2, 2012 10:41 pm

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@larrydoby  I agree with Howard on this 100% - I’m extremely disappointed.  I’m not sure why you pose your rhetorical “would you prefer barry bonds?”, but it misses the point entirely.  We have a chance at a fresh start here, so why choose a guy with a past like McGwire’s? And, let’s take this one step further.  We all know now that steroids and other PEDs helped McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, ARod etc to all hit be better than they normally would have because it helped them recover more quickly and increased their strength.  This is compelling when considering McGwire as a hitting coach because, although he could always hit the ball a country mile, his career BA is a pedestrian .263 - even with the advantage of PEDs.  No one here wants Mickey Hatcher back, but even he was a .280 hitter over his 12 year career.  
 
I think the Dodgers can do better…

November 2, 2012 11:01 pm

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No one is quite as hypocritical as a fan of a sports team. I myself have had various degrees of success in succumbing to hypocrisy. When the Lakers signed Dennis Rodman, I succeeded in avoiding ever seeing him in Laker colors. Not once. I’m proud of that. When the Dodgers signed Manny Ramirez, I failed miserably. I’m not proud of that.
 
When we were purged of the slime of he-who-shall-remain-nameless, I was relieved to be able to be proud of My Dodgers again.
 
Steve of North Hollywood says, “I think the Dodgers can do better.”
 
Clouddodger1 says, “Cheater, liar, loser.”
 
Johnny Dodger says, “Start fresh and clean, Dodgers”
 
Mark McGuire is by most accounts a very nice man. I remember him showing serious respect to the family of Roger Maris. It was very touching.
 
I feel that second chances are wonderful things. They can reconstruct the soul. But you’re right, Howard. He’s had his second chance. He had a chance to stay in St Louis. He wants to be nearer his family, they say. Fine. Do it. No one will stop him. But as our hitting coach? Really? He certainly should not need the money. 
 
I join my voice with yours. And with Steve and CD1 and with JohnnyD.
 
I say, “NAY!”

November 2, 2012 11:50 pm

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We are the team of Jackie Robinson.  There IS a standard here, and like most humans we can not always hit it.  And if we enabled others in the past (Manny, Gagne, etc.), well, shame on us.
 
Going forward, management should be able to look themselves in the mirror and say “Yes, I believe this guy is clean”. 
 
I don’t care if every other team cheats, I don’t want the Dodgers of Campy, Hodges, Jackie, Furillo, Maury, Sandy, Big D, 3-Dog, Tommy D., Garvey , Lopes, Russell, Cey and Orel to be like everyone else.
 
And yeah, it’s been 24 years, but when we win, and we will , (just check out Kasten’s record with the Braves and Nationals), I want to be able to revel in it, not be ashamed of it.
 
And there are a million hitting coaches without the PED background.  How about resurrecting Mike “The Hit Man” Easler?  I mean, he was “The Hit Man”. Who better to generate hits?

November 3, 2012 3:20 am

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Mark McGwire************asterisk*************short term memory Dodgers  ?

November 3, 2012 1:55 pm

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At least he fessed up to it and didn’t deny, deny, deny. And i suppose the fact that he fights against it now doesn’t matter right? Every team has had abusers on it and this has been for a half century at least. Dont think for a second players in the 60′s and 70′s didn’t take speed, whites, pills and the likes to keep awake during the season to get any edge they could because it is true. Moving forward is all that matters when it comes to PED’s. Just say no! So everyone needs to just get over it because it is a new world in BB and big Mac is here whether you like it or not. You should be more concerned with our AL manager Donnie boy…

November 4, 2012 12:15 pm

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Actually John, he did deny, deny, deny, only in his case it was more “I don’t want to talk about the past.” Ridiculous. He came clean when he wanted back in the game, and only then. In other words, the admission was self-serving.

November 4, 2012 12:58 pm

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