I read the story in Tuesday’s Gazette about what major-league umpire Tim McClelland said at the University of Iowa baseball team’s annual Lead-Off Dinner, and couldn’t believe it. Still can’t.
“I’d like to see people get over it,” McClelland said Tuesday afternoon during a news conference at the Coralville Marriott and Convention Center. “There were a lot of people taking steroids. They used it to make themselves better, and I can’t fault a player for doing that. It might have been illegal, but if you chastised everybody who was doing something illegal in the game there wouldn’t be anybody playing the game.”
“That era everybody was using them, so you have to say from 1990 to 2004 there were a lot of guys using and that’s the way it was,” McClelland said. “Move on and get rid of it. Put it in the back of your mind. Don’t single out one guy or two guys or 10 guys. That’s just the way it was.”
Are you kidding me? Get over it? Move on and get rid of it?
Illegal activity that altered the sport’s on-field results shouldn’t be glossed over and forgotten just because “everybody was using them.”
Incredible. Baseball needs to expose as much of this as possible, show how performance-enhancing steroids and other substances are to users, and drum it into the public’s head that this can’t be tolerated or overlooked.
“They used it to make themselves better,” McClelland said in the Iowa City Press-Citizen’s account of McClelland’s appearance at the Hawkeyes’ function. “I can’t fault a player for doing that. It was not against the rules of baseball (before 2004), so I can’t fault a player for trying to make himself better.”
“I had a catcher tell me, ‘Us peons have to get off steroids; we can’t afford them,'” McClelland said in the Press-Citizen story. (http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20090218/SPORTS/902180329/1025/) “He said the guys that make the big money, because they put up the big numbers, can get the synthetic steroids, and they can stay on them, and that’s not fair.
“What he was telling me is that there were a lot of guys on steroids.”
And McClelland, like everyone else in the Grand Old Game, shrugged. Not that the umpire, who lives in West Des Moines, could have done anything except get ostracized himself, had he spoken out about it at the time.
But this attitude of it happened, everybody was doing it, forget about it and move along — that’s the kind of thing you expect to hear from a teenager, not one of the game’s on-field law-enforcement officers.