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Personal favorites that I wrote
2007-01-10 19:09
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Buckley of the Boston Herald September 18, 1998

Before you hit the feathers each night, you probably tune in to your fav-o-rite nightly sports program to see if Mark McGwire and/or Sammy Sosa had gone yard.

Or maybe you waited until the morning, at which time you breeze through these pages in search of the box scores.

And then there are the folks who bypass TV and the papers altogether, and go directly to the Internet, to, or whatever.

Did Big Mac hit one out?

How about Slammin' Sammy?

We are a nation suddenly obsessed with home runs.

Jeff Buckley on January 10, 2007

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."

Let's be frank: It was a cheap lawyer's trick.

But Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good perspective:

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.

And what about books like this?

Jim Caple of also wonders about the hypocrisy.

2007-01-10 20:01:25
1.   Greg Brock
Good for Bernie Miklasz. The sports journalism community is good at attacking everything but itself.

My friends and I were talking about which players were juicing in 1995. They all knew, or were the biggest group of dolts in the history of the world.

2007-01-10 20:04:21
2.   Bill Crain
It's sobering to note that I'm 339 miles closer to Alibris in Emeryville than I am to the Los Angeles Public Library.

But Alibris will also send you one of these, from KidHaven Press for only $2.95:

2007-01-10 20:06:54
3.   Bob Timmermann
Bill Plaschke, 2006:

This newspaper prohibits its writers from voting for awards, but I would not have put a check next to McGwire's name. In fact, I have previously campaigned against McGwire on these pages, claiming that his superhuman physical appearance during the home run chase, combined with his feeble appearance during the congressional investigation, were all the evidence required.

He looked like a duck, and then later quacked like a duck, so …

But today I wonder if McGwire is less a duck and more of a scapegoat.

It's about red-faced writers like myself, suckered by the steroid era, angered by baseball's response, frustrated by the arrogance of the deceit.

Bill Plaschke, 1998:

Imagine two powerful runners. One dark, one pale; one from San Pedro de Macoris, one from Pomona.

Imagine these runners sprinting side by side through the final rocky miles of an attempt to run farther than anyone in history.

Imagine a nation watching it, millions of dollars riding on it, the image of a national pastime depending on it.

Now imagine this:

The runners are cheering for each other.

And we're cheering for them both.

2007-01-10 20:13:28
4.   Greg Brock
Bill Plaschke is angry at baseball. I'm angry that a journalist couldn't ask the simple questions that two teenage kids were asking on a golf course in PV in 1995.
2007-01-10 20:16:39
5.   Bob Timmermann
Well, if you were at Los Verdes, you must have had a lot of time on your hands to speculate about steroid use since it takes an average of 35 minutes to play each hole.

But I digress....

I wonder if the livery ran out of high horses to hand out yesterday.

2007-01-10 20:21:12
6.   Greg Brock
5 I remember it vividly, because it was the first time somebody ever told me that players were taking steroids, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was at the second hole at Los Verdes. The first name that came up? Mike Piazza.
2007-01-10 20:24:04
7.   Bob Timmermann
So you'd been playing for two hours?

I was probably in the group ahead of you. I was the guy looking for his ball in the trees.

2007-01-10 20:27:11
8.   Greg Brock
7 I though you looked familiar. Los Verdes is an awesome opportunity to meet violent geriatrics fist fighting over tee times, talking to the rudest and most arrogant starters to ever work a golf course, and generally waste nine hours of your life.

I highly recommend it.

2007-01-10 20:29:05
9.   Bob Timmermann
You have likely missed my Los Verdes tirade on DT.

It was almost Plaschkean in its vitriol!

2007-01-10 20:31:14
10.   Greg Brock
9 Was that the time somebody asked about where to golf in LA? I was around for that one. We took turns bashing Los Verdes.

Good times.

2007-01-10 20:33:08
11.   Bob Timmermann
Former UCLA QB Matt Stevens used to manage Los Verdes I believe.

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