Monday, March 21, 2005

what mcgwire should have said

in a just world, mark mcgwire would/could have said something like this last thursday:

ok, i did it. but all the rest of you did too.

while i was juicing my body with steroids, you were juicing your profit margins with bogus bandwidth transactions. i used artificial inputs to inflate my home run totals; you used them to inflate your stock returns. i acquired obscenely large forearms; you acquired mcmansions and hummers and 2d homes in colorado. i was addicted to testosterone enanthate and winstrol and equipoise; you were addicted to campaign cash and venture capital and misleading quarterly reports. same stuff, different format. all of us were on the juice back in those days.

we were bulking up and loving every minute of it. nobody cared how you did it — whether you bulked up in the weightroom or with a syringe; whether you built up solid revenues or cooked the books and created paper profits that didn’t really exist. my biceps, your earnings projections — everyone knew they might be fake, but so what? didn’t matter back then. bulk alone mattered. as long as everyone agreed to keep up the pretense that the bulk was real, we all got ahead.

it didn’t seem wrong at the time. we were all profiting hand over fist, so why quibble about whether the bulk was honestly come by? stupid question; kind of thing that’d make people roll their eyes at you. a question like that completely missed the point; the point back then was to keep serving up the bulk, keep hitting the homers, keep driving those double-digit returns on wall street. 70 dingers, 12,000 on the dow — just keep up the pretense. just don’t burst the bubble.

now the bubble is burst. now the pretense is no longer shared. two days ago, bernie ebbers got convicted for securities fraud. and here we are today in front of this committee, and you ladies and gentlemen ask us in all apparent earnestness: is baseball on the level? i roll my eyes at you and say: stupid question. you already know the answer; you see it ev’y time you look in the mirror.

let me say a word to those who believe that i and barry bonds and sammy sosa should give back our mvp awards and our home run titles. i'll give mine back when you give back your stock-option windfalls; when you shed the bulk (the homes, the suvs, the retirement accounts) that you amassed with the help of artificial enhancements; when you disavow your pacs and your 529s and resign the offices purchased thereby. let all that happen, and i'll come clean too. but you better drop your own pretenses first before you come after mine.