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Big Mac's Big Lie

By George Ofman

Greg Maddux becomes a special assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

Mark McGwire admits to using steroids.

Guess who got the short end of the straw on this one?

I think we can be pretty certain about this: Maddux did not use performance-enhancing drugs to fashion what will one day be his Hall of Fame career.

Mark McGwire should never be a Half of Famer.

McGwire's revelation splashed across the Internet and on TV as a bombshell. It wasn't. We all knew.

We knew back when he refused to say anything during a congressional hearing and the nearly five years that followed.

And we knew back then that Sammy Sosa was lying, too.

And we would soon find out more about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez. They all cheated, only two have come clean, so to speak.

Of course, if you witnessed Bob Costas's interview with McGwire on the MLB Network you learned McGwire still can't put two and two together about what he did.

While extremely contrite, McGwire refused to connect steroids with his enhanced performance. This is either an act of delusion or someone who knows how to lie to himself while lying to others.

Meanwhile, among the duties Maddux will have with the Cubs is talent evaluator. I wonder while pitching to McGwire whether he evaluated the pumped-up slugger was on roids?

McGwire and Sosa titillated a nation with their home run duel in 1998. Just a handful of people thought about steroids until that bottle of Androstenedione was found in McGwire's locker. Questions arose but few dealt with steroids. Sosa claimed he took only Flintstone Vitamins while his head and home run total grew larger and larger. Most of us simply wouldn't put two and two together. The story was so good and too good to be true.

Fast forward to Sosa's corked bat incident in 2003. Remember when he called it an honest mistake? And remember the time he left a bag with 20 grand in a Venezuelan hotel? Cash for clunkers or cash for enhancers?

I bring Sosa into this picture because I strongly believe he will be the next athlete with a tearful apology, though I suspect this will be with a Hispanic Bob Costas type. He will admit to using steroids during those four seasons when his home run totals expanded like his noggin. He will apologize to his family and the game. And he will break down. He will beg for forgiveness while seeking his road to the Hall of Fame.

The road should be permanently under construction.

There are some who will forgive McGwire. I just can't. And I won't forgive Sammy when he offers a mea culpa. It's simply taken too long, like Pete Rose, who adamantly refused to tell the truth about gambling on baseball. He lied and lied and lied again until finally, years and years after the fact, he admitted it. And you know what? He's still not in the Hall of Fame, nor should he be allowed in, just like McGwire and Sosa, Bonds and A-Rod and others who have come clean or you simply know jacked up their muscles in order to jack up their stats.

Call me a hard ass but I just hate liars, don't you?



George Ofman is now with WGN radio after a 17-year run with The Score. He also blogs for ChicagoNow under the banner That's All She Wrote. Comments welcome.



1. From Marty Merkau:

"I agree. I think the commissioner of baseball should ban McGwire and the 'roid-using clan of players. After all, they banned eight White Sox for fixing games and they were all acquitted. Isn't steroid use in a sense fixing a game?"

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