Last night, the MLB Network scored a major coup as Mark McGwire, with an assist by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, sat in front of a bunch of cameras and chatted with TV sports gadabout Bob Costas. McGwire shocked the nation with his revelation that he used steroids for most of his career while Bob Costas shocked the nation by telling us that he packed two suits on his most recent road trip.
Because I am just as opinionated as a roomful of crusty old columnists, I give you my report card for the interview and the fallout:
- Mark McGwire, B: Probably cried authentic tears, but never really broke down into a full "boo-hoo" cry that would have convinced a nation of amateur psychoanalysts that he was sincere. He never admitted that steroids helped him hit home runs, nor should he have said such a ridiculous statement. The drugs helped him heal; the drugs helped him get far more at-bats than his body would have allowed; the drugs helped him extend his career. You gonna hate a man for doing anything and everything to extend his multi-million-dollar career? Also, Mac never pimped himself as a HOFer, even refusing to answer the question if he would vote for himself; instead, he came off like a family man who wanted nothing more than to work as a hitting coach under a convicted drunk driver. The American dream!
- Bob Costas, A-: Avoided both snark and softball questions (until the end, when Mr. Costas peppered Big Mac with such questions as "Are you going to miss your kids when you're on the road?"). Perhaps due to the peculiar camera angles, we were able to see Bob's classic blue suit in full, accompanied by a diagonally striped tie. Costas knew last week that he'd be doing this interview so he packed an extra suit with him on his previously scheduled football trip to Dallas. Now that's planning. Would have been an A+ if Bob asked Big Mac about how steroids affected Little Mac.
- Interior decorators, D: The room where the MLB Network folks set up shop for Costas to conduct the interview was relatively plain and looked something like your nana's living room. Kudos, however, to whomever decided to display an elegant Italian platter in front of the fireplace.
- Herr Bud Selig, B-: Bud released a statement yesterday that praises McGwire for coming clean all the while digging that knife into the players' backs, with this: "Being truthful is always the correct course of action, which is why I had commissioned Senator George Mitchell to conduct his investigation." Oh right, I forgot George Mitchell stopped baseball players from using drugs, stupid me!
- Brian Williams, F: For wasting our time as a nation by opening the evening news with a prepared statement throwing McGwire under the steroid bus and not even having the balls to call Big Mac an asshole.
- Any boob who links McGwire and Tiger, F-: Stop demanding that our celebrities apologize. It's embarrassing for all parties involved.
- Baseball fans who think McGwire and Sosa saved baseball, D: Sure, it was a cute story back in 1998, but if you were one of the dopes who thought that famous home run chase "brought baseball back," go back in time and punch yourself in the face. The United States courts supported the players union and issued an injunction against the owners in March, 1995. That's what saved baseball. Good ol' fashioned litigation.
- Jim Thome, A+: For coming clean on his own personal demons.
Who else deserves to pass this test or fall flat on their face?