MLB‘s steroid era won’t culminate in some end date or announcement the sport is completely clean. It will take place gradually, with regret that looms for decades.

According to ESPN Los Angeles’ Arash Markazi, Mark McGwire feels awful about his part in the steroid era, and he is ready to turn the page:

I wish I was never a part of it. Just get rid of it. If it’s better to have bigger suspensions, then they’re going to have to change it.

I wish there were things in place earlier. 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.

It’s not worth it at all. 

The man who once blasted awe-inspiring home runs when the sport absolutely needed it is now the hitting coach for the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers.

On Monday, fans similar to those who cheered for McGwire as he chased records and belted mammoth dingers were busy booing Alex Rodriguez for his part in an ongoing Biogenesis scandal.

MLB suspended 13 players for violating its drug policy, including Rodriguez, who in 2009 offered an emotional mea culpa for his use of PEDs between 2001 and 2003.

The times, they are changing.

As reported, McGwire admitted to using steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998. Now before you berate the man anew, remember how amazing it was to see balls fly out of the park just a few years removed from the 1994-95 strike.

A bulked-up McGwire and a buffed-out Sammy Sosa put butts back in the seats. Officials, fans and media looked away because the drugs now considered deplorable were making the sport a captivating spectacle.

Well, those steroids served their use and are now chewed up and spit out like a wad of used tobacco. Major league baseball, the media, fans and, most importantly, the players have all changed their tune.

Enhancing performance through pills, injections and shortcuts are out; playing baseball “clean” is very much in.

A little over a year removed from MLB’s current collective bargaining agreement being signed, players are already chiming in with calls for stiffer penalties on cheaters.

Nick Markakis recently stated he was all in for far stiffer penalties on players who test positive for any amount of PEDs. Dustin Pedroia trumpeted Monday as a good day for baseball, and Evan Longoria proclaimed caught players were being selfish.

McGwire is a big name and familiar face from an era that will never be forgotten, no matter how hard baseball tries.

What’s remarkable is the change that is taking place among players who now vilify colleagues who take shortcuts when they were once more likely to follow their lead.

The man who hit 583 home runs in his career touched upon that very thing:

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. 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.

Baseball will never be truly clean. It’s a microcosm of the world and will always have those looking for an edge.

Don’t expect a specific date that will mark the end of an unfortunate era. Much as it slowly took over baseball, it will slowly dissolve from its ranks.

Just know that the epoch of juicers is in its final days. Thankfully, it seems like brighter ones are ahead.


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