Five questions for Mr. McGwire
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 2, 2009 - Here I sit eagerly awaiting Mark McGwire's next move.
Word is he will address the media in some fashion once the World Series is over, but who knows whether it will be in person, by teleconference or via fax like he announced his retirement to then-ESPN anchor Rich Eisen.
Obviously, if the press conference is here in St. Louis a lot of us will be there and we will have a lot of questions for the formerly reclusive Mr. McGwire.
Here are the five I would like to ask him.
1. Did you ever use steroids, human growth substances or any other performance enhancing drugs?
Hey, why dodge the obvious elephant in the room? This is the first thing McGwire should answer. While it depends on his answer, my next question would be:
2. What substances did you use?
One of the most interesting discoveries of this entire steroids era was the alleged list of drugs that Barry Bonds used exposed in the book Game of Shadows. Sure, Bonds' right to privacy was totally abused and whomever leaked this grand jury information should face jail time, but the concoctions he allegedly used to surpass McGwire's 70-home run mark and then Henry Aaron's all-time record of 755 home runs are truly frightening yet intriguing.
Question No. 3 comes down to the cherished record that he surpassed.
3. Were you on any type of performance enhancing drug when you topped Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61 home runs?
Bonds and McGwire are under the most scrutiny for steroid use because they beat Maris' home run record. Thus, McGwire should state flatly whether or not the dream season was indeed a fraud. Getting away from the steroid issues, my next two questions would have to do with his new job.
4. I would imagine that other than being a baseball player, you've never held a job as an adult. Do you have any idea what it means to have a job and work the hours demanded of you?
Regardless of manager Tony La Russa's faith in McGwire, none of us knows whether he even wants to work a real job with real job responsibilities. To be out of baseball for more than a decade is a declaration that not only did he want to avoid attention, he also was happy playing golf and living in the southern California sunshine without a real care in the world. Personally, I'm not convinced McGwire has any idea what is expected of him and what the real world demands of its workforce.
5. If you found a joint (marijuana cigarette) in your son's pocket what would you do?
If McGwire confronted him and he said "I'm not here to talk about the past," would that be the end of the conversation? I doubt that, and that's why McGwire should be honest and tell the world what he did, when he did it and why he did it.
Alvin A. Reid is editor of the St. Louis Argus and a weekend host on the new ESPN 101.1 FM. His weekly Major League Baseball - St. Louis Cardinals column, which is now published on The Beacon website, was honored by the Missouri Press Association as Best Sports Column in 2004 and 1999. He is co-author of the book, "Whitey's Boys: A Celebration of the 1982 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals" and was a member of the inaugural staff of USA TODAY Baseball Weekly.