THE LAST TIME my mother yelled at me was when I told her I would vote for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame.
She was a Vermont farmer and really didn't like sports, but she thought McGwire's refusal to answer questions about steroids on Capitol Hill was despicable. He's a cheat, she said, a drug user. How can you reward him?
I told her the world inside major league baseball was more complicated -- much more about money than casual fans wanted to believe. I had witnessed as a reporter the full context of the drug culture, and for me there was no internal conflict in voting for McGwire. Any success he had was rooted in that culture. It was absurd to demonize him after the fact.
How did I reach that point? How did baseball? Well, just follow the money.