Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Article excerpt

Byline: CHASE GOODBREAD

2CENTS

"I will use whatever influence and popularity that I have to discourage young athletes from taking any drug that is not recommended by a doctor."

Those were Mark McGwire's words to the U.S. Congress when the former big-league slugger painted himself into a steroids corner by refusing to answer questions directly last year. Now, reports have surfaced that McGwire has refused to cooperate with the Mitchell investigation, MLB's self-probe into the sport's use of performance-enhancers. Sorry, but Big Mac's actions betray his words.

Again.

You can't claim to be at the ready to discourage youngsters on one hand and blow off a fact-finding mission on the other. The truth has to come first, or kids will turn a deaf ear to the message. McGwire virtually disappeared after his appearance on Capitol Hill left fans all but certain he was a steroids user. This, for certain, wasn't the way his name needed to first resurface.

The message here from Big Mac? Seems to be, "Stay off steroids, kids, but if you ever use them, run and hide and bury the truth."

Forget McGwire and his "influence and popularity" - both are at record lows, anyway. Get a guy like Wally Joyner to talk to kids. The former Angels and Padres first baseman came clean on a brief experiment with steroids, called it one of his great regrets, end of story. He's no pariah for having told the truth, as McGwire is for having not told it.

METS TO CRUISE

"It's early," people said.

"Anything can happen over 162 games," cried the pundits.

And now, with only seven weeks left in the season, the New York Mets haven't gone anywhere.

Still in first place, still by a comfortable margin. There has been little resistance from a division that includes a too-young Marlins team, a too-dysfunctional Phillies team, a just-plain-lousy Nationals team and a Braves squad that - finally - has run out of divisional magic. …

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