What Now, Big Mac?

Tomorrow night, beleaguered former hero Mark McGwire will make his first public appearance since those pesky steroid hearings back in March. At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, former players and various local luminaries — we saw Ray Lankford and Illini basketball coach Bruce Weber earlier this year — have taken turns tearing down a sheet with the number of games left for the stadium (which will be torn down this year). McGwire — seen here with his wife, at the public appearance before the steroid hearings — is tearing down No. 3, and the big question is how he will be received. Will the warm-hearted and forgiving Cardinals fans embrace him? Will he be showered with boos? And will he have his wife with him? Because that might help.

The consensus prediction, encapsulated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Big Mac picked the right city to play in. They'll go crazy for him.

His defenders are out in force, writing letters and calling talk shows to castigate anyone who dares suggest that McGwire should receive anything other than an appreciative welcome from the city that embraced him as a hero seven years ago.

Still wouldn't hurt to bring the wife, though.

Will McGwire Remain A Hero In St. Louis? [STL Today]