McGwire’s homecoming marred by drug penalties

Mark McGwire’s first trip to Busch Stadium in a visitor’s
uniform was focused more on his past instead of the homecoming.

The Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach and former Cardinals home
run king said Monday that his opinion about the penalties Major
League Baseball handed down for performance-enhancing drugs is not
as important than those of current players.

”You know, it really doesn’t matter what I think,” McGwire
said. ”I think what matters is what the players think and from
what I hear every day in the clubhouse, they’re just happy it’s
coming to an end.”

Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez
both said new testing procedures are paying off and making it
tougher to cheat.

”Players have been vocal for some time now about wanting to
clean up the game,” Capuano said.

”Guys are just I think incredulous given how often we’re
tested, how sophisticated our testing is, that there are guys still
trying to get around the system and take stuff and cheat. Guys are
angry, guys want these guys punished.”

McGwire admitted in 2010 that used steroids during his career.
That announcement came a few months after the Cardinals hired him
as hitting coach.

McGwire said it was a ”tough question” whether he could be
considered a trailblazer for PEDs in baseball and he has told
players it’s not worth it. He hit 70 homers in 1998 to shatter
Roger Maris’ record of 61 in 1961.

Though he’s 10th on the career list with 583 homers, McGwire
believes it’s highly unlikely he’ll be voted into the Hall of

A large part of the Baseball Writers of Association has taken a
zero tolerance stance and he received just 16.9 percent of the vote
last year.

”Unfortunately, I don’t believe there will be a day that I’ll
be in and that’s OK,” McGwire said. ”That’s the way things are,
I’ve dealt with it, I’m OK with it.”