Fanhouse.com, having seen a deleted Brian McRae twitter post, is reporting that Mark McGwire is going to replace Hal McRae as the Cardinals hitting coach – which would coincide with Tony LaRussa’s return to managing next year.
I know that McGwire worked hard to get healthy and improve his batting – considering that one year he nearly finished beneath .200 before figuring things out and becoming the most feared hitter in baseball between 1995 and 2001. And, while he doesn’t have a great track record at communicating with people OUTSIDE the sport of baseball, he gets a lot of respect from other players. If he can reach hitters with that kind of example, he’ll help the team.
Okay – he was at the forefront of juicing during the asterisk era. That’s a problem.
I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to see McGwire and others around helping young hitters because he has something to offer these guys. If so, you can look past his overly muscled past and consider his other skills. If not, and you believe that we need to dust this stuff under the rug and wish it never happened, then you can voice your opinions until Cardinals management chooses to reconsider.
I see guys like Jim Presley as a hitting coach and wonder how HE got his job. Presley wasn’t all that great, he had a horrible approach to hitting – swing at everything and hope you hit it far – and guys like him get hitting coach roles. McGwire learned patience and situational hitting and (asterisk notwithstanding) showed growth as a hitter. Presley never got better, he didn’t outlast his skills, and his career crumbled predictably. I’d rather my hitters follow McGwire’s example.
And, if he talks to players about what he has learned about using chemicals to improve his performance and why this is the WRONG thing to do, that wouldn’t be all bad either.