Picture courtesy of ryansflickr on flickr.com
When I was seven years old I went to a baseball game with my family. I was living in Fremont, Ca and this was not an uncommon occurrence. I ran to the front of the stands as batting practice was ending with my baseball cards in hand. I was in luck. This day, Mark McGwire was signing autographs. I was small and cute, so I was able to wriggle my way to the front of the crowd. "Mr. McGwire! Mr. McGwire!" I yelled in opposition to all those around me who were yelling out "Mark!". He smiled and pointed at me.
This was one of the high points of my childhood, and even after his admission, it still is. I remember the man who was kind to a little girl. One of my classmates told a story about one of the other Oakland A's at the time who tried to charge him $50 for an autograph. I won't name the player, but most have heard stories about him.
I remember something else from my childhood. I remember watching Public Service announcements by Lyle Alzado who was a former Raiders football player. He died of brain cancer from the use of antabolic steroids.
In the last couple of days, I have thought a lot about both these memories. I do not condone what Mark McGwire did, but he is a good man who made a common mistake for baseball players of that era. He never lied about using steroids, but did not choose to answer questions about it until now. He put his life at risk and his career will be forever tainted by the choice he made.
Everyone needs to decide for themselves how they feel about this, I for one will always remember the man who signed my card.
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