Ten years ago today, SL Price, for Sports Illustrated, put the following words to paper:
…. As is our custom late each fall, we at sports illustrated sat down to discuss nominations for sportsman of the…. No, we didn’t discuss. We didn’t even sit down. It was automatic. It was unanimous. It was the easiest selection in our history. It couldn’t be one sportsman of the year. It had to be two. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. All in favor, say aye. All opposed, report back to your coma.
McGwire and Sosa gave America a summer that won’t be forgotten: a summer of stroke and counterstroke, of packed houses and curtain calls, of rivals embracing and gloves in the bleachers and adults turned into kids—the Summer of Long Balls and Love.
It wasn’t just the lengths they went to with bats in their hands.
It was also that they went to such lengths to conduct the great home run race with dignity and sportsmanship, with a sense of joy and openness. Never have two men chased legends and each other that hard and that long or invited so much of America onto their backs for the ride. Rarely has grace so swiftly begotten grace, $2 million pouring into Sosa’s foundation for hurricane victims in his native Dominican Republic and a flurry of checks for $62 and $70 into McGwire’s Los Angeles-based charity for abused children.
Reading his piece again, I am both reminded of what a great ride that was, and saddened by how that memory has been revised, cheapened and ultimately, denied. I ask you: Are we really better off having “exposed” the PED users? I certainly think not.