Despite Rep. Tom Davis’ assurance that last week’s baseball drug policy hearing woud not be a “witch hunt,” the sports media swarmed in the wake of the testimony, as sportswriters such as Cold Pizza‘s Skip Bayless called Mark McGwire “pathetic” for neither confirming nor denying steroid use. Soon, close friends such as Tony La Russa and fellow players like Sammy Sosa were coming to McGwire’s defense.
“It’s impossible to separate myself from what I know of how hard he worked and how he developed,” La Russa told reporters. “In my opinion, being under oath wouldn’t have changed what he said. I think he was overcoached.” La Russa’s Cardinal pitching staff later confirmed that their manager knows a little about overcoaching.
Sosa agreed that the problem amounted to bad legal advice. “He’s saying what they wanted him to say. What decision he made, I have to respect that.” Asked repeatedly to give his opinion on whether McGwire had something to hide, Sosa replied, “I’m not talking about that.”
Curt Schilling went a step farther, taking sportswriters to task for only just now editorializing about steroid abuse. “The same players you guys are vilifying and crushing now are the same guys you touted to the world for the last 15, 20 years with the same suspicions that we had,” Schilling said.
Nevertheless, Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay, whose pointed questions to McGwire led him to be admonished by chairman Rep. Tom Davis, demanded that his state’s Mark McGwire Highway be renamed, removing the slugger’s name. However, Clay was again reprimanded, this time by state Gov. Mel Carnahan.
“Mark McGwire was a hero of baseball in St. Louis, he remains so, and must deal with the choices he’s made,” Carnahan said. “But nothing he did would change my mind about what we do or don’t name highways.” When asked to explain the existence of approximately 12 Interstate 405s , Carnahan gave us a wedgie.