Category: St Louis Cardinals

What Is It That Mark McGwire Is Said To Be Doing For The St Louis Cardinals …………?


What Is It That Mark McGwire Is Said To Be Doing For The St Louis Cardinals …………?

I’m not at all treating this with a great deal of skepticism but I do find it totally abhorrent that MLB has seen fit to welcome Mark McGwire ‘back with open arms’ ! Never mind the fact that after all these years , he has seen fit to finally admit that he lied to the public about his steroid use over the course of his major league baseball career. It’s even more preposterous that Commissioner Bud Selig feels that McGwire has atoned for his sins. McGwire hasn’t atoned for anything , he’s simply profited financially from being ‘a cheat to begin with’ ! But a buffoon such as Bud Selig, wouldn’t at all see it that way.

Mark  McGwire  seen  here  swearing  under  oath   prior  to  giving   testimony  having  been  subpoenad  by  the  House  Government  Oversight  Committee  .    photo  appears   courtesy  of   Associated  Press / Matthew  Robinson  ..................
Mark McGwire seen here swearing under oath prior to giving testimony having been subpoenad by the House Government Oversight Committee . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Matthew Robinson ..................

McGwire will report for Spring Training , where he’ll be part of Tony La Russa’s , coaching staff for the St Louis Cardinals. And McGwire’s primary role with the team , will be as its batting coach. Though it’s pretty safe to say, that there’s not a great deal that McGwire can teach to the likes of Matt Holliday or Albert Pujols on the St Louis Cardinals’ team. If anything, he’ll prove to be something of a mentor to the young players on this Cardinals’ roster , as they set about making a name for themselves in baseball and within the NL Central .

And though Cardinals’ fans seem to be forgiving of the player , judging by the respectful applause accorded to the player when he addressed them formally for the first time, upon the announcement that he was to rejoin the organization. As to what the Cardinals’ front office had to have been thinking concerning this maneuver, has to be open to a great deal of debate and conjecture, to say the very least. One can only surmise that much of his has been done at the behest of La Russa and certain members of his coaching staff. Though I’m also inclined to believe that principal partner William De Witt alongside Vice Chairman Fred Hanser and GM John Mozeliak all played a part in the decision making process that went on before a final decision was reached. And this to me is a clear indication that baseball tends to look after its own, especially when their deeds are deemed to have been egregious and of the most heinous variety. Forgiveness is one thing, when there’s a genuine act of contrition on the part of the perpetrator. But here, McGwire ‘lied to not only the fans but more likely than not he also to his teammates and the organization that was his employer at the time. What though to me isn’t all surprising , has been the continued denials by Tony La Russa at no time did he see or did it ever occur to him that McGwire and then teammate , Jose Canseco were using steroids in the Oakland A’s locker rooms , when all three were part of the ‘organization’ . That statement by La Russa rings ‘hollow’ to this day ! And it proves just how asinine his continued stance has been. Much like baseball’s complete stance on the ‘steroid issue’ to begin with.

McGwire  unleashes  his   wrath   with    his  now  all  too  well  known swing
McGwire unleashes his wrath with his now all too well known swing. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Connor Bart ...................

Courtesy of The New York Times

A Loyal Tony La Russa Remains Mark McGwire’s Biggest Booster

By Harvey Araton ,

Jupiter, Fla. — There is eternal defiance in 65-year-old Tony La Russa, from the tenor of his voice to the fountain-of-youth tint of his still-modish mane to the steroid taint of his new hitting coach that he steadfastly refuses to concede.

Fair warning to all Mark McGwire agitators attempting to infiltrate the camp of the St. Louis Cardinals: you will be subdued.

“He’s already explained and apologized more than anybody else in history,” La Russa said of McGwire on Thursday, the first official day of spring training. “As we go forward, anybody tries to interrupt what he’s doing in getting the team ready is going to be stiff-armed.”

Meeting with reporters last week, McGwire revealed that he had had two previous offers to return to the big leagues after retiring in 2001, but that he was too busy starting a second family to meet the demands of being a full-time hitting coach. When the time was finally right, who else could or would have run such dedicated interference for him like La Russa, his manager for all but one and a half of his 16 years in the majors?

Who more than La Russa could have made McGwire’s return almost sound like a human rights cause five years after his dissembling and disastrous performance during a Congressional hearing on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball?

After McGwire’s January confession that he indeed was a user for much of his career, La Russa said, yes, of course he was disappointed to have his longtime fears confirmed, but his support was unwavering. He even said he was not worried that McGwire’s revelation might affect his own reputation and Hall of Fame candidacy — albeit knowing that a manager’s fate is in the hands of the more fraternal veterans committee and not with the contentious news media.

For his part, during a session here with reporters, McGwire hailed La Russa as “my second father, my first manager,” who has “seen me grow as a person, as a hitter.”

Steroid component and controversy aside, there is a poignant narrative to their relationship, a testament to familial loyalty in La-La Land. Those who know La Russa well say they are not surprised by his fealty, or fearlessness, in the face of a public pushback.

“Tony has been doing controversial things his entire career,” said Dave Duncan, who has been La Russa’s pitching coach in Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis. “He’s played a left-hander at third base, had a three-man rotation, batted the pitcher eighth. If he thinks it’s the right thing to do, he’s going to do it. Believe me, he’s got one thing on his mind, and it’s putting together a successful team, not what the media or the public thinks.”

Others, while commending La Russa for having the courage of his conviction, advise him to be mindful that he is the Cardinals’ manager more than he is a mentor to McGwire.

“On the one hand, Tony’s got that strength of character,” Sandy Alderson, who was Oakland’s general manager when La Russa and McGwire helped the Athletics win three American League pennants and the 1989 World Series. “On the other hand, you don’t want to be tone deaf to the situation.”

In a telephone interview, Alderson cited McGwire as “just one example” of La Russa’s allegiance to those he has worked and bonded with. He expressed confidence that La Russa would not allow McGwire’s presence to affect the Cardinals negatively.

“He will see what needs to be done and respond without altering his conviction, because that’s what he does for a living,” Alderson said.

But some people are left to wonder why La Russa did not push McGwire to at least acknowledge the likelihood that steroids had contributed to his late-career slugging surge, and had not just served his medicinal needs to surmount career-threatening injuries. Perhaps then the spotlight would be trained on Albert Pujols and the Cardinals’ defense of the N.L. Central title, not on McGwire and steroids.

On the subject of Pujols — who, fair or not, must deal with pervasive suspicions that follow all major league mega-achievers in the age of cynicism — the question can be raised: has La Russa made it easier for people to doubt his performance, if only because McGwire will be a continuous reminder of baseball’s innumerable performance-enhancement obfuscations?

La Russa said he did not hire McGwire without serious consideration of his effect on the team.

“The pros overwhelmed the cons,” he said, insisting that McGwire was less his personal reclamation project and more a man with a professional yearning to share a vault of hitting expertise.

Nor did La Russa have to beg or strong-arm the Cardinals’ front office to bring McGwire back into the organization, he said.

“I think I was trusted by our ownership to make the right judgment,” La Russa said, “and I would have been very disappointed if I wasn’t.”

That might, in retrospect, be interpreted as a declaration of leverage in itself. Although Bill DeWitt, the Cardinals’ president, supported La Russa’s contention that the call on McGwire was ultimately a managerial decision, he also suggested that it went beyond the normal rubber-stamping of a coaching hire.

“There were multiple discussions that there would be a lot of media,” DeWitt said. “But that it would also be a chance for Mark to say what he wanted to say for a long time.”

At least for the first couple of spring training days, reporters were still trying to coax McGwire into saying more. For the most part, he did not bite, and La Russa, on the subject of whether McGwire would be a potentially burdensome issue across the long and winding season, would not budge.

All teams have season-long distractions, he contended. The ability to deal with them is what separates the winners from the losers.

“Some have already judged that we can’t win because he’s going to be a distraction,” La Russa said. He paused, and with lips tightening, back arching and arm stiffening, he added, “I’ll take that challenge, like other challenges.”

Delighting in the defiance — that is what he does for a living.

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The fortunes of the Cardinals this season won’t be tied to the effectiveness of McGwire as a hitting instructor. But more so, to the tenacity shown by the team , as they look to defend their NL Central divisional crown. To say the under-achievement of the team last season didn’t come as a surprise , would be an understatement to say the very least. Moreover , there was the belief that La Russa and his coaching staff became entirely complacent and they did little to circumvent much of the malaise that was evident in the team’s failure to make it through the to NLCS series (2009) and to the NL pennant game. They fell short at the very first obstacle by being swept by Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 in the NLDS. Poor play allround by the team was reflected in the series’ loss, much to the dismay of their fans.

Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa addresses McGwire’s admittance that he used steroids. Who’s actually more complicit and culpable in this all ? McGwire, La Russa or both ?

This season however, a great deal will be predicated not only on the play of the reigning NL MVP , Albert Puols but also of his teammate Matt Holiday. With his now definite acclimatization to Busch Stadium in St Louis Missouri. We’ll be able to see whether or not he can be just as productive as he was last year for the team. Pujols , we know will be his usual stellar self , as he has continually exemplified that throughout his entire major league career with the Cardinals. And it appears almost certain that it is his intent to remain a life-long Cardinals’ player. Now comes the hard part, for the front office , as the player becomes a free agent at the end of the 2010 season. And it will be interesting to see the efforts made by John Mozeliak to retain the player and his services. It’d wouldn’t all be foolish to suggest that a ten year $200 million contract would be out of the question for the player. It’s not at all derisive and is commensurate with the marker value of a player of Pujols’ caliber.


On the pitching front if the team’s duo of aces in, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright can be as effective as they were in the regular season, last year . Then it augurs well for the team with and their pitching rotation that is also augmented by Brad Penny , Kyle Lohse , Ryan Franklin and Trever Miller . If the rotation can be remain healthy and productive. Then there’s no reason to believe why it is that the St Louis Cardinals can’t be viewed as a legitimate contender within the National League to challenge the supremacy of the Phillies and Dodgers within the ‘senior’ conference.

McGwire (right) seen here with then manager , Tony La Russa of the St Louis Cardinals. McGwire was recently hired as a hitting instructor for the team. Is anyone under the impression that Albert Pujols is in need of McGwirie's assistance when it comes to 'hitting' a baseball ? picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated and AP/Photos/ Rod Killion ......................
McGwire (right) seen here with then manager , Tony La Russa of the St Louis Cardinals. McGwire was recently hired as a hitting instructor for the team. Is anyone under the impression that Albert Pujols is in need of McGwirie's assistance when it comes to 'hitting' a baseball ? picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated and AP/Photos/ Rod Killion ......................

As to the outright contributions of Mark McGwire and what they will prove to be ultimately for the organization. It’d be easy to surmise that it all will be met with a certain amount of skepticism by the fans and public alike. But if there’s one thing that you can be sure of , it is that the baseball writers won’t at all be afraid to show their continued support of Mark McGwire to begin . It’s not as if any of them ever had the temerity to question the player’s efforts even when the evidence was there to suggest that all wasn’t above board . And that was even prior to the then allegations being made by Jose Canseco. The fraternity is that is major league baseball (MLB) is still rife with inanity , crass stupidity but most of all their unwillingness to hold others accountable when there has been indeed gross misconduct by a player. Could it be that what little common sense there is in the game , isn’t at all with the players, owners or the game’s hierarchy but with the fans ? That’s now how it all appears, as the writers themselves appear to be just as stupid as the entire game itself , in terms of its participants.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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The Eagles sum up McGwire perfectly, as to what he was about with their song ‘Lyin’ Eyes’. His sole ambition was to cheat and nothing else beyond that. As he profited financially from the subterfuge that MLBPA , the league’s owners as well as the MLB hierarchy were all complicit in.

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Enjoy the ‘fineness’ that is Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander . The reality star’s claim to fame, was that she appeared on the VH1 reality show ‘Flava of Love’ starring William ‘Buster’ Drayton aka ‘Flav Flav’. Don’t forget in order to get the best view possible of these pics’ of Hoopz. Then click on each of the pictures to appreciate. Don’t playa’ hate , just play the game.

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