Last Night's Winner: Bob CostasS

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like the MLB Network and Bob Costas, whose mutual love affair finally paid off with their big exclusive Mark McGwire confessional.

If you missed it, the interview is pretty much on a loop on MLB Network right now, with shorter clips appearing on every news and highlight show, and Costas' condescension was on full blast. He gets credit for asking direct and pointed questions, but perhaps could have done a slightly better job hiding his contempt for the answers. My favorite moment had to be when Costas brought up McGwire's final Major League at bat—not to ask him a question about it, but simply to remind McGwire how humiliating it must have been to be pinch hit for in a key playoff moment. Completely irrelevant, but great theater.

The consensus from the talking heads seems to be that McGwire's one flaw last night was that he couldn't "admit" that steroids helped inflate his statistics—even though it seems clear that he doesn't believe that to be the case. To people like Bob Costas and Tom Verducci, it's completely inconceivable that a man could hit 70 home runs without the aid of drugs. And most people might agree with that. But some people don't. I guess their opinion doesn't matter to the humble, hard working people of St. Louis.

People say they want steroid users to be honest, but that's not really true at all. They want McGwire to say that he agrees with them, even if he doesn't mean it. They would prefer that he lie to validate their own viewpoint, rather than say what he truly believes. It's not about an accounting for crimes against baseball. It's about creating consensus, so we can end the argument.

Maybe it was a calculated performance on McGwire's part, but Costas seemed to have no problem believing the rest of it. He believed that he was contrite and well-meaning, but he doesn't buy McGwire's supreme confidence in his own ability? That's the part that's truly hard to swallow.

After Much Silence, a Quick Admission and Apology [NY Times]