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.

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Glavine considering grievance against the Braves

According to FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal, pitcher Tom Glavine is considering filing a formal grievance against the Atlanta Braves for his release from the team last Wednesday.

Glavine feels his release was done for financial reasons and not to clear a spot in the rotation for hot prospect Tommy Hanson, who is making his major league debut today against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Rosenthal asked Braves general manager Frank Wren for his reaction:

Wren said the decision was made for performance reasons, not business reasons. The team promoted top prospect Hanson rather than activate Glavine.

According to the MLB collective-bargaining agreement, no player can be released from a team because of financial reasons. Glavine would have received a $1 million bonus if he had been activated from the disabled list for Sunday’s start.

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