Friday, January 12, 2007

Don't Ruin Our Mark McGwire Memories

That's the plea of sports blogger Will Leitch in an op-ed column for the NYTimes. It's one of the silliest things I've read in ages. Leith complains that we're ruining a happy, genuine memory: that night in 1998 when McGwire passed Roger Maris and set a single season home run record.
And now, if you believe the sports consensus, we’re supposed to be ashamed of that night, to see it as some dark blotch on the history of sport. But it was not, and trying to convince ourselves it was does us all a disservice.

Whatever your thoughts on steroids and McGwire’s and Sosa’s murky history with them, that night really did happen, and all the optimism and warmth that came out of it was real. Tim Forneris really did give back that ball. McGwire really did embrace his son and provide a real-life “Field of Dreams” moment for fathers and sons everywhere. (My father called me seconds after the homer and still has the game on videotape.) The Maris children really did cry and honor their tortured, maligned father. We were all touched by these moments, and why wouldn’t we be? They were real.
The fact that McGwire was a cheat doesn't seem to bother Leitch. Why mess with a good memory? So let's say Leitch went to the funeral of a wife and mother who died tragically and he was deeply moved by the weeping and wailing of the husband who gave a heartbreaking testimonial about his wife that moved everyone to tears. Then, a month later, we find out the husband had actually brutally murdered his wife so he could dump his kids and ruin off with his 17 year old mistress. If I understand Leitch right, that's beside the point. Sure the husband was faking it the entire time and a vile creature, but Leitch was MOVED and he doesn't want that happy memory despoiled. Sorry, dude. It's spoiled.


Isolate4Cash said...

I agree - it is what it is, there's no gray area between cheating and not cheating. It's like saying you smoked marijuana but didn't inhale. It definitely taints his legacy. He's had heroic moments, but they've been tainted.

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