After the unmitigated disaster that was former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire’s testimony in front of Congress on steroids and other performance enhancing drugs three years ago, the first baseman completely dropped off of the face of the earth, at least in terms of his relation to the game. Now, per USA TODAY, he’s instructing a small group of major and minor leaguers in hitting, and may re-appear in the game soon as a hitting coach.
The group of current major leaguers working with McGwire includes Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, Cardinals Chris Duncan and Skip Schumaker, along with the Yankees’ Shelley Duncan, who violates the first rule of Big Mac’s Hitting Club by talking about Big Mac’s Hitting Club.
“He really revolutionized my swing and changed things around for my career. When I worked with him, my eyes really opened up to the mental side of the game.”
Schumaker also agrees, saying “the game needs him.” What’s surprising is that there are executives that wonder where he went and agree with that assessment. Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has interviewed McGwire in the past for a job as a hitting coach, and McGwire’s old manager Tony La Russa has been trying to get him to coach in some capacity with the Cardinals.
What’s truly bizarre is that even commissioner Bud Selig is sympathetic towards McGwire, calling his public disappearing act “sad” and wondering why someone who “gave so much to the game” is rarely seen or heard from. Barry Bonds would like to know how much you have to give to the game for Selig to forgive your sins against it, real or imagined.
Maybe a moment like this while under oath might just make one a little reticent about being back in the public eye:
It’s amusing how much people can miss a man who embarrassed himself and baseball in the first of many segments of Congressional Kabuki Theater on steroids. I’m guessing that McGwire has kind of shied away from coaching opportunities because he’d have to rely on his hitting expertise from his major league days — which means he’d have to talk about the past. He really wants to move the game forward.