By Ed Sherman, Crain’s Chicago Business Sports Blog
Oct 29, 2009
A few weeks ago, the Sporting News ran predictions for the baseball playoffs. I was stunned to see one name on the list of guest forecasters: Mark McGwire.
Mr. McGwire completely disappeared after his disastrous day in front of Congress in 2005. To see a quote attributed to him, even for something as mundane as a playoff pick, caught me off guard.
It got me wondering if Mr. McGwire would ever try to repair his name.
The answer came much sooner than anyone expected with Tony LaRussa’s announcement that Mr. McGwire would be the Cardinals’ hitting coach next year. Now that one was a real stunner.
The Cardinals still haven’t made Mr. McGwire available to the press, but they said he will speak. When he does, expect that he finally will admit that steroids helped fuel the rocket shots he launched in the late ’90s.
Mr. McGwire doesn’t have any other choice, according to Kevin Sullivan. A Chicago native and former communications director under George W. Bush, Mr. Sullivan does consulting work that includes media training for professional teams.
Said Mr. Sullivan: ”McGwire needs to look no further than the World Series. He will see (admitted steroid users) Andy Pettitte and (Alex Rodriguez) and very little talk about performance-enhancing drugs. They faced the music and McGwire should, too. It’s the only way he can move on and not face a media frenzy at every stop.”
The last thing Mr. LaRussa wants is a distraction for his team. You have to think one of the conditions to taking the job is that Mr. McGwire will have to discuss the past he tried to avoid in the “I’m not here to talk about the past” congressional hearing.
After seeing his records and Hall of Fame hopes mocked, perhaps Mr. McGwire feels he has nothing to lose by re-entering the public forum again. It definitely will be one press conference you won’t want to miss.