The Jupiter Zoo: See Mac Run


Aside from the possible additions and decisions that the Cardinals will make during Spring Training, the big story is how Mark McGwire will handle the press. McGwire did the whole apology thing, saying he was sorry but he was still great, and then diasappeared again. The press left McGwire to do his offseason workouts with Cards players in peace. The noise is bound to return when Spring Training opens in Jupiter later this month. So, will McGwire run from the cameras like he did for 10 years (5 since the congressional hearings) or will he continue to open up about his “mistake.” I would be shocked if McGwire gives us anymore. He will likely deflect questions on steroids and say how excited he is to teach hitting. So, will that quiet the crowds or will they only get louder? That remains to be seen.

Hot Stove posed this question to various Cards bloggers around the Web: Will the addition of Mark McGwire as the Cards’ hitting coach be a help to the team’s offsense, or will it just be a gigantic distraction? One can only imagine the media circus sure to ensue during Spring Training.

I agreed with the latter half of the question. McGwire will have no where to hide, and the media pressure will certainly become a distraction for the team. Here are some of my thoughts: I don’t agree with the Cardinals bringing McGwire back. He hid for 10 years, and then an interview is supposed to make it all better. McGwire’s apology left many unanswered questions, and Spring Training could turn into a free-for-all to get more. As far as helping Cardinals hitters, I don’t see it. McGwire was only a home run hitter, and hitting is much more than that. McGwire inherits the best Cards lineup in recent memory, so it will be hard to quantify his effect on the team. I see it as a major distraction that far outweighs any good for the team.

Before you tell me how McGwire became a student of the game, studying film and understanding situations, think about that. If he was such a student, why did he use steroids? Even with them and his studious habits, he was a .263 hitter. Wow, I’m blown away. The bottom line is that he was just a home run hitter. He never ripped doubles into the gaps or took the ball the other way for a single. There is more to hitting — and baseball for that matter — than home runs. McGwire doesn’t know that though. He can pretend to understand the game, but it didn’t show when he played. Did he ever bunt a runner over? Yeah, I know, why would he do that, he’s a home run hitter. But that is one less thing he can teach. Mac, were you ever given a hit and run? No, not hit and jog. Hit and run, as in make contact to keep the defense off balance. I didn’t think so. Yes, McGwire could swing with the best of them, but he was far from being a good hitter, let alone great.

So, how will a guy who knew only one thing add anything to the Cardinals hitting attack?

What he will do, though, is add plenty of distraction. The spotlight will be on him all season, and it may be a little bright for a guy who has been hiding for a decade. The steroid questions may never end, and I hope they don’t. He cheated the game and then he continued to cheat with his apology. When will it end? It may not end until McGwire is hiding again. The game would be better for it.

Sweet Lou Has Gone Soft

In more Mark McGwire news, Lou Piniella forgives him. This is startling to me. What happened to the old Lou Piniella. The fiery guy throwing bases and fighting players. Cubs fans should be worried. Lou has gone soft. The fire is extinguished and without that, Lou isn’t the great manager that he was. He said McGwire has been forgiven in the baseball fraternity. Ferguson Jenkins, Whitey Herzog, Ernie Banks, Carlton Fisk, and Ryne Sandberg have all bashed McGwire in the news. They are all Hall of Famers, baseball’s elite fraternity. I have a hard time believing Piniella doesn’t agree with them. Lou was a hard-nosed leader on the Yankees Bronx Zoo teams. He was a close friend of Thurman Munson’s, and you know Munson would hate these steroid guys. Munson was a baseball player. He was short and slow, and suffered from knee issues, but he was still one of the best in the game. Think of Thurman, Lou, don’t be so quick to forgive and forget these steroid cheaters.