It's not unreasonable to wonder what might have happened had Mark McGwire not appeared before Congress on that March afternoon in 2005. Had he simply faded into the baseball sunset, perhaps bought himself a ranch or a car dealership, or maybe opened up a restaurant, it's entirely possible the no-longer "Big" Mac might have been wearing one of those spiffy Hall of Fame caps yesterday along with Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn.
But the problem is this: Mark McGwire did sit there at the table that day, the reading glasses pushed down to the base of his nose as he read from his prepared text. He was asked, naturally, if any of the 583 home runs he hit were the byproduct of anything he did unnaturally, to which he famously responded, "I'm not here to talk about the past."
But now the sporting press that basically served as McGwire's personal public-relations agency in '98 is having a belated attack of guilt and acting on the impulse to play high priest for a day. And that's a leading reason as to why McGwire went from national hero to national disgrace.
A question: If we're going to retroactively punish McGwire, can we ask the newspapers, the publishing houses and the quickie-book authors to give back the proceeds that flowed from the rush to cash in on McGwire Mania? I was just wondering how that works. Thanks.