Jack Clark vs Albert Pujols

The video above shows a clip of former MLB All Star Jack Clark ripping Mark McGwire and other steroids users. Clark was a power in the era preceding the baseball era, and it really bugs him to see what these guys did to the integrity of the game.

Now he’s in a new feud with Albert Pujols and it’s getting ugly. Clark had a new radio show in St. Louis but he lost that gig after Pujols said he would sue Clark and the station over comments Clark made:

At least twice in the first week of a program that made its debut Aug. 1, Clark said that former Pujols trainer Chris Mihlfeld told him in 2000 that he “shot him up’’ with steroids. Both were working in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization at the time. Clark also has made other steroids allegations about Pujols, attributing them to comments Mihlfeld had made to him more than a decade ago.

Pujols has vehemently denied the allegations, but that’s common practice in today’s world. Mihlfeld has also denied the story.

This is what we all have to deal with in the context of people like A-Rod who were hell bent on using PEDs. But as Jeremy Schaap pointed out today on ESPN, no ballplayer in today’s world, even Albert Pujols is beyond suspicion.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

The Nationals are finally poised to compete

In the entire history of the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, they’ve made just one playoff appearance, which happened so long ago that Mark McGwire probably doesn’t even remember being drafted by the organization that year. (1981 for those scoring at home.)

Since then, the Expos/Nationals have been a study in failure. Sure, there were those few years in the early 90s when the team was competitive under Felipe Alou, but for the most part the organization has been riddled with bad luck and underperformance.

Until now, that is.

Am I ready to crown the Nationals as my pre-season pick to win the NL East? No, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they earned a Wild Card bid – especially with a playoff team being added in each league this year. Their starting rotation is excellent, their bullpen is solid, and their offense should be improved from what it was a year ago. Assuming their core players stay healthy, there’s no reason to think the Nats can’t challenge an aging Philadelphia squad and a club in Atlanta that has managed to choke in pressure situations the past two seasons.

It’s hard not to love Washington’s starting rotation. Stephen Strasburg is coming off Tommy John surgery but he and Jordan Zimmermann flat out throw gas. Gio Gonzalez was one of the more underrated pickups from this offseason and Edwin Jackson helped the Cardinals win a World Series title last season. Assuming he isn’t traded at some point, John Lannan is a pretty damn good fifth starter. In fact, all five of Washington’s starting pitchers could finish with ERAs south of 4.0.

That said, the offense will make or break this club in 2012. Outside of Ryan Zimmerman, not one hitter in the Nats’ projected 2012 lineup will hit for average. There also isn’t a 100-RBI man on the roster, unless Zimmerman and Jayson Werth (who had a brutal debut last year with the Nationals) overachieve.

But the 2010 Giants showed that offense isn’t everything, especially if you can make it into the postseason. Plus, it’s a pitcher’s game now and the Nationals aren’t short on arms this season. We’ll just have to see if they have enough offense to give themselves a shot to play past October 3.

Either way, this isn’t the same Nationals’ club that finished fifth, fifth, fourth, fifth, fifth, fifth and third since moving to Washington in 2005. This team appears ready to compete.

Tony La Russa announces retirement

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hugs batting coach Mark McGwire after the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series in St. Louis on October 28, 2011. The Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers 6-2 winning game 7 of the World Series. The Cardinals won their 11th World Series after defeating the Texans 4 game to 3. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

What a way to go. The St. Louis Cardinals had an incredible season topped off by one of the most exciting World Series comebacks in baseball history. 67-year-old Tony La Russa apparently has decided that this was the perfect way to end his career, as he announced today that he will retire as manager of the Cardinals.

Already the talking heads on ESPN are speculating that this really won’t be the end for La Russa. Who knows. But he’s had a great career with three World Series titles.

One criticism of La Russa is that he should have won more championships, as he had an incredible team in Oakland that managed to lose two of of three times in the World Series. But baseball is a funny sport. The best team doesn’t always win – the hottest team wins. Baseball history is littered with examples of how a dominant pitcher and a hot team can defeat the more dominant teams. Orel Hershiser and the Dodgers were one example against La Russa’s A’s.

La Russa was hailed as a genius at times, and that happened again after Game 1 of this World Series after all of his moves seemed to work out. Then he was the goat of Game 5 as the Cardinals ran the wrong relief pitcher out to the mound after what La Russa described as a communication problem.

None of those details really matter now. La Russa is leaving the game in the way players and managers can only dream about.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa ponders his thoughts after announcing he has decided to retire during a press conference at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on October 31, 2011. La Russa, (67) who managed the Cardinals for 16 seasons guided his club to the franchise’s 11th World Championship just days ago. La Russa has 2,728 career wins. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Rosenthal ponders McGwire’s quiet return

Mark McGwire

In a recent piece for FoxSports.com, Ken Rosenthal points out that the baseball world seems to have accepted Mark McGwire.

McGwire did not move to change the conversation, yet the noise did subside. He was not a distraction to the team in spring training. He is not a distraction now.

All this amounts to a positive step in the evolution of how fans, media and people within the game view players who used performance-enhancing drugs.

Other past users should draw inspiration from Big Mac, recognizing that they can admit the truth, emerge with a clean conscience and move forward.

No matter what you think of McGwire, he deserves the chance to be hitting coach of the Cardinals, who host the Mets this weekend on MLB on FOX (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET).

It bothers me that he used PEDs. It bothers me that he refuses to admit they helped him as a hitter. It bothers me that he has failed to fulfill his pledge to become a national spokesman against steroids, a pledge that he made to Congress in 2005.

But exactly how long should any of us harbor resentment toward McGwire and other past users?

People change. Perceptions change, too. Forget the Hall for a moment. If McGwire can regain at least a measure of dignity, then why not Sammy Sosa? Why not Roger Clemens? Why not Barry Bonds?

While I agree with Rosenthal, I think he should acknowledge that our interest in McGwire has also weakened because more important things are happening in the sport. I mean, what’s really left to say about Big Mac? I know there are many out there that loathe the idea of a baseball cheat being allowed back in the game, but they’ve even exhausted themselves talking about it. MLB follows 30 teams and hundreds of players over the course of seven months. Simply put, nobody wants to read about a hitting coach for too long. Rosenthal is correct in that our resentment for McGwire may be waning, but it’s not because of McGwire’s recent sound decisions. It’s because the story is boring. We all made up our minds a long time ago about how we viewed McGwire — his steroid admission just hardened those opinions.

It’s also tough to despise a guy that didn’t directly harm anybody but himself. Sure, he sullied the game of baseball, but he had many accomplices. I tend to group all these steroid guys in a giant cluster of disappointment. I don’t have a unique hatred for each and every one of them anymore. McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens — they’ve all exiled themselves from the hearts of the baseball-adoring public. If one of them comes back, like McGwire has, the story will lose steam quickly.

McGwire doesn’t have our forgiveness. We may empathize with him, but hitting statistics never go away. Instead, he’s become a sports figure we’ll simply deal with because we’re tired of mentioning him.

Bonds says he’s proud of McGwire

Barry Bonds says he’s proud of friend Mark McGwire for admitting to his PED use back in January of this year.

From ESPN.com:

“I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I’m proud of him,” the 45-year-old Bonds, back in the Bay Area for a reunion at AT&T Park of the Giants’ 2000 NL West champion team, said when asked what he thought of McGwire’s January admission. “We’ve had a great relationship throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I’m proud of what he did. I’m happy for him.”

He appeared to be in great shape and said he is down to about 225 pounds from his playing weight of 238.

“I’ve just been working out a lot, that’s all. I work out all the time,” Bonds said. “It’s been in my genes my whole life. I just don’t work out as hard anymore. I don’t lift as heavy weights anymore to be bulky. I don’t know, I’ve got that Hollywood look.”

I’ve got that Hollywood look? Does anyone else need to vomit or am I the only one?

People love to talk about “Manny being Manny” when it comes to the antics of Manny Ramirez, but ManRam has nothing on Bonds. This is a man that will look the media dead in the face and tell them that he’s proud of Mark McGwire for admitting his PED use, as if he shouldn’t have done the same thing long ago. Barry is one of those people that has subscribed to his own lies for so long that he actually believes in them now. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Related Posts