Mark McGwire

McGwire first PED-linked player to manage in the big leagues

Baseball slowly allowing PED players like McGwire & Bonds back in the game

On Tuesday night when the San Diego Padres hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates an unprecedented event occurred in the third inning causing Padres’ manager Andy Green to be ejected from the game.

The umpires called a balk on Padres’ right-hander Colin Rae which allowed Andrew McCutchen to walk home from third base making the score  2-0 in favor of the Pirates.

The umpires reversed the call, sending McCutchen back to third and then reversed the call again allowing McCutchen to score and charging Rae with a balk. It was a bizarre situation and by the time a decision had been made Green was gone.

Mark McGwire & Andy Green
Mark McGwire & Andy Green. Jake Roth/USATSI.

When a manager is ejected from a game, the bench coach is usually next in line to take over managing for the remainder of the game. The Padres’ bench coach is none other than Mark McGwire.

So, disagreement in a game about a balk led to McGwire getting the opportunity to manage during the regular season for the first time. Why is this significant?

Managers get ejected all the time, sometimes so many coaches end up ejected during baseball disputes that the bullpen coach may end up managing the rest of the game.

This particular incident is significant not just due to the oddity of the twice reversed call but because it led to McGwire becoming the first former-player, who has been linked to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), to manage a big league club in a regular season game.  It continues a trend of former PED players being slowly, but surely, reintroduced to the game.

For more on McGwire, Barry Bonds and the significance of them coaching/managing in the big leagues, you can read the remainder of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:

Baseball slowly but surely opening door for PED players to return to game

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