Do you believe local hero Tony La Russa when he says he didn’t know Mark McGwire was juicing?

I realize this question may be a bit out of, ahem, left field for me (Am I getting my sports metaphor right?) I am not a baseball fan. I don’t dislike baseball, but I just don’t follow it. I couldn’t even tell you who won the last world series!

But I have been totally fascinated by this whole baseball and steroids issue. I devoured all the San Francisco Chronicle exposes on Barry Bonds, and tried to follow, as much as I had time for, the 2005 Senate hearings at which former Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire refused to answer questions about steroid use during his playing career.

And on Monday, we had McGwire’s tear-filled apology press blitz. Arranged by former George W. Bush secretary Ari Fleischer, according to the New York Times. (Rolling my eyes on that one). And we heard from La Russa, saying he had no idea at all until Monday that McGwire was using steroids. La Russa was McGwire’s manager when he was both in Oakland and St. Louis.

As I said, La Russa is a local hero for establishing the Animal Rescue Foundation, the well-regarded Walnut Creek-based nonprofit that bears his name.

But does La Russa’s denial of knowing anything about McGwire’s steroid use ring true, and does it tarnish La Russa’s good guy image? Some baseball fan bloggers are highly skeptical of La Russa’s denial, and even disappointed and angry about it.

From MLB Fanhouse’s Terrence Moore’s column, McGwire, La Russa not fooling anybody

It’s nice that Mark McGwire finally admitted on Monday what everybody already knew years a go. Plus, you’re always better off telling the truth — no matter how long you’ve perpetuated a blatant lie, but none of this matters. …

… This is disgusting. I’m talking about everything, ranging from McGwire remaining a coward by announcing through a printed statement to the Associated Press that he spent parts of a decade slamming all of those home runs with a boost from steroids (surprise, surprise) to St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa continuing to insult our intelligence in so many ways.


Let’s get La Russa’s silliness out of the way. To hear him tell it, he hadn’t a clue that McGwire was swinging and juicing throughout his career. He said he only discovered as much when McGwire phoned him on Monday with the news — you know, presumably either before or after La Russa realized the Earth was round.


This is the same La Russa who was McGwire’s manager during his first 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics and his last five with the Cardinals. This is the same La Russa with a prominent law degree, which would make you think he is fairly observant — maybe enough to see that somebody he was around nearly every day for 15 seasons was growing from a skinny little thing into Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. This is the same La Russa who told ESPN, “I’m really encouraged that [McGwire] would step forward. As we go along, his explanations will be well received.”


Guess La Russa really does think the Earth is flat. Either that, or he wants the rest of us to believe as much.

14 thoughts on “Do you believe local hero Tony La Russa when he says he didn’t know Mark McGwire was juicing?

  1. No, I think Tony is part of the team to try to get McGuire into the Hall of Fame and the “truth telling ” is a step in that campaign.

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  2. tony knew mark was using ,so was all the 'stars' of other teams.is that why beckham's voice is so high? he is juicing too? we fans want home runs grand slams ,power hits/kicks. ITS ENTERTAINMENT,more tickets sold, so couches look the other way! wait til they start looking at football players professional or college…arghhhh
    PS OUR FAMILY STILL LOVE MARK AND TONY AND WE WANT MARK IN HALL OF FAME

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  3. The entire league knew what was going on… Mgmt and labor couldn't figure out what to do. This is bigger than Tony & Mark.

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  4. Tony LaRussa is suspect both in his baseball past and in his current business “ARF”. I know someone who used to work for him at ARF, and said a lot of underhand things are going on. And that's why I don't support ARF. I do support other rescue foundations however.

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  5. I don't believe any athletes weren't using steroids and all of those athletes knew everyone was using. It's so unfortunate because it's a self-perpetuating thing. Because all of the established athletes were using, the up-and-coming athletes had to use just to compete.

    It's sad.

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  6. Like Nancy KC said, the athletes bulked up to be bigger and better for fans who wanted entertainment. The baseball managers and league knew it was going on. They wanted to make the big bucks, and these athletes wanted the fame and fortune that went with it.

    We can talk about how McGwire and La Russa were just giving fans what they wanted and got all caught up in the frenzy, but they also profited mightily from this. $$$. There was greed too. La Russa likes to talk about how much integrity he has. Well, he just showed he as slippery about the truth as a lot of these guys. It's disappointing.

    I'm not so disgusted about the use of steroids but the cover-up. Yeah, it's not the crime itself but the cover-up and the lies that are so unsettling.

    But I have a feeling Teflon Tony will skate through this one as well.

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  7. I knew he was using in the 80's when my brother was working out in the same gym he was. He had all the signs including acne. I don;t believe Tony for a minute. And if he didn't over-manage all his teams over the years the A's would have won more WS

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  8. To believe he didn't know, I would have to believe he is an idiot. I wonder how Tony would feel about someone injecting their dogs with that stuff?

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  9. For the last five years, Mark McGwire and Tony LaRussa have called Jose Canseco a liar. By his admission to using steroids, McGwire is a liar(and continues to be). As much as I doubted Jose's allegations when he first made them, I truly believe that he is the only one of the three that is telling the truth.
    NANCY 'KC'- I expect Mark McGwire will be inducted into Cooperstown right after Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose are. It aint gonna happen!

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  10. I have a friend who knows people at ARF, and she's a supporter of ARF. She's probably met La Russa at some of the ARF events and thinks he's a great guy.

    It sounds like ARF is a good organization. Animals are not my big cause.

    Maybe La Russa is doing good things for animals, but his behavior throughout this steroids controversy and now this thing with McGwire are pretty sleazy. He's lying, everyone knows he's lying. I guess he's still insisting he didn't know, he didn't know. He's as bad as Barry Bonds, or his friend Mark.

    If he were really a stand-up guy that he likes to say he is, then he himself should come clean, as a leader in baseball.

    My friend wants me to donate to ARF. I was considering it, but no thanks. I have other charities to give to, and there are other animal rescue groups in the area that could also use the money.

    Somehow I think ARF just feeds La Russa's illusions or delusions of being the great guy.

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