Mark McGwire, the former Cardinal star who broke home run records while using performance-enhancing drugs, has spoken out against steroids in light of Major League Baseball’s latest crackdown against PEDs.
Speaking to ESPN's Arash Markazi at St. Louis' Busch Stadium on Monday, the Dodgers hitting coach said he wishes he never had gotten involved with steroids in the first place.
"I wish I was never a part of it," McGwire said. "Just get rid of it. If it's better to have bigger suspensions, then they're going to have to change it."
McGwire first admitted to using steroids in 2010, when he was named hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. At the time, McGwire acknowledged that he was using steroids at the height of his career, when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998. Now, he claims that he wishes there had been better safeguards to keep him from using PEDs in the first place.
"I wish there were things in place earlier," McGwire said. "They were put in in 2003 I think. I just really hope and pray that this is the end of it. Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of it, and I hope this is the end of it. ... I wish I was never part of it."
After taking over as the Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach this season, McGwire says he regularly speaks to players about the harm PEDs can cause. As for penalties, he isn’t sure how harshly MLB should punish players who use steroids, but he says he’s simply glad the organization is helping put a stop to their use.
"It doesn't matter what I think; I think it matters what the players think, and from what I hear every day in the clubhouse, they're just happy it's coming to an end," McGwire said. "They're happy that Major League Baseball is taking care of it and we can move forward. Hopefully this will be the end of it."
Since McGwire’s heyday, more and more MLB players have spoken out against PEDs, which McGwire welcomes.
"That's good, I think it's really good," McGwire said. "I think [Evan] Longoria said it was one of the saddest days in baseball. It is. It's really bad. I just hope it's over with and we don't have to sit here and talk about this anymore. I just pray and hope that it is."
Ultimately, McGwire acknowledged that his steroid use probably will cost him the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite his 583 career home runs.
"Unfortunately, I don't believe there will be a day that I will be in there," McGwire said. "That's OK. That's the way things are. I've dealt with it. I'm OK with it."