Airwaves: McGwire was right to finally come clean 

Wow, what a week it has been. Thank you to Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco for giving every media outlet in the country a ton of stuff to report about.

Let’s start with the beginning of the week when McGwire admitted to Bob Costas on the MLB Network he took steroids. Well, gee, what a shock! The only revealing statement was the fact that when he testified before Congress, he was going to admit he had taken drugs. However, he wanted immunity. He was concerned if the admittance took place, he could be prosecuted. On the intelligent advice of his attorneys, he said nothing.

Here we are in 2010, and he carefully picks the stage on which to bare his soul. Costas is the perfect guy, because he gets it. Just like Michael Vick chose James Brown to do his interview, McGwire selected Costas and the MLB Network.

Mark my words, when Tiger Woods decides to talk publicly, it will be with Jim Nantz on “60 Minutes” on CBS. Although Nantz is not a “60 Minutes” correspondent, he will do the job.

I applaud St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa for hiring McGwire as his hitting coach. I applaud McGwire and his advisers for coming forth with the truth now, before spring training begins. Sure he made an error in judgment. Sure he waited too long to talk about it. But now he has put it behind him and can get on with his new career as a batting coach.

I might be naive, but I believe the fact that he took steroids to help heal injuries, rather than give him strength. I was at USC when he was crunching the ball out of Dedeaux Field.

While with the A’s, he lived in Danville and worked out at Gold’s Gym in Walnut Creek. He was always a good guy and had a personal trainer from Gold’s work with him. Of course, he had one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen accompany him each day and she garnered most of my attention.

Jose Canseco is just a fool. When he talks, all he sees is books being sold and more radio and TV interviews. He really threw McGwire under the bus this week.

Interesting end to a mystery we all knew the answer to. Now, the Hall of Fame debate has started. Should he be eligible? Should he have been a first-ballot inductee?

A quick answer: Yes, he is a Hall of Famer and, yes, he should have made it on the first ballot. McGwire’s quote said it all: “I wish I had never taken steroids.”

You think?

 

Changing of the guard for USC football

I wonder what Al Davis thinks of Lance (Al’s name of choice) Kiffin going to USC. My very well-placed sources tell me he was the No. 1 choice all along. Mike Riley will never leave Corvallis, Ore. He grew up there. Hayward native Jack Del Rio has never coached a down of college football. Jeff Fisher was a pipe dream and Steve Mariucci is way, way overrated as a coach. USC athletic director Mike Garrett knows Lane Kiffin and has seen him work. If anyone thought that the Trojans were going to go outside the USC family, I have a photo album I can sell you of me and Sharon Stone on a yacht in the Greek Isles this past Christmas holiday.

- Good luck to Pete Carroll. We all knew it eventually was going to happen. Might have been the right time for the Marin native to leave USC and take over the Seattle Seahawks. I always thought Jim Mora Jr. was dramatically overrated.

- The worst studio show I have seen in a long time was last weekend on NBC’s Sunday night football. Keith Olbermann was the host and he is fine. However, blowhard Peter King from Sports Illustrated and wimpy nerd Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk, are enough to make you mute a studio show. Just awful TV.

- Fox News has hired Sarah Palin as a regular commentator. She will offer political commentary and analysis. I’ll bet she is pretty good. Unlike the national political arena, she has experience in TV when she worked as a sports broadcaster in the 1980s in Anchorage.

- Why do NFL coaches wear hats in their news conferences after games? Why can’t someone advise them that it looks dumb?

- Great show this past week on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in regards to Mark McGwire and steroids. Ted Griggs and the crew put together an all-star cast of Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart and Victor Conte to discuss the subject with host Greg Papa. I love LaRussa. He is honest. He is camera friendly. He knows how to get his point across.

 

Who said it

Hank Aaron

“If that’s all that stands between him being in Cooperstown, we should forgive him,” baseball’s home run king said when asked if Mark McGwire was worthy of the Hall of Fame after admitting steroid use. I agree with Aaron, this too shall pass, and we as a society need to forgive and forget.

 

Goose Gossage

“What does the Hall of Fame consist of? Integrity. Cheating is not part of integrity,” the former big-league pitcher said when asked about the Mark McGwire issue. Gossage, never one to be political, was very outspoken and against McGwire being on any Hall of Fame ballot. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in a few years.

 

One to watch

Get a bottle of wine (Greg Norman pinot noir 2006), chill it and watch the last two games of the weekend. At 10 a.m., have a Bloody Mary (with horseradish of course) as you tune into Fox and watch the Dallas Cowboys get after the Minnesota Vikings. I do not know who will win, but the Dallas group is the hottest team in the NFC. After that game is over, pull the chilled pinot out, open it and go to CBS for a 1:40 p.m. kick as the boisterous N.Y. Jets take on Norv Turner’s San Diego Chargers. No way the Jets can win with a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez ... is there?

 

Sports by numbers

21.8

TV rating for last weekend’s packers-cardinals playoff game

19.4

TV rating for last weekend’s ravens-patriots playoff game

1999

Year the nfl last had a first-round playoff game record a rating higher than 21.8

 

Off Target

Goons. Barbaric. Bloody. Just plain stupid. No, I am not referring to the now almost defunct sport of roller derby, I am speaking of the UFC. The other day, I was in a sports bar and on TV was the UFC’s 100 Greatest Fights. It was on Spike TV and hosted by the talented Mike Greenberg. I had to watch it because it was staring me in the face as I sucked down a chicken salad sandwich. When someone gets killed in these cages, maybe the world will see this is not a sport, but an insane leap back to the dark ages.

 

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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