The January thaw is already happening. Obviously, writing from California, this has nothing to do with the weather. The warming trend we sense is spring training coming right around the bend. The winter meetings are done, large numbers of free agents have landed and the most cereberal of the blockbuster off season trades have completed. It is nearly time to head for camp. Every winter we survive the revelations, the retirements and the new rosters. Okay, Mark McGwire has sort of come clean. The motivation was health and anyone near the game recognizes the greatest challenge is staying healthy for the long eight months, over 170 games, lengthy road trips and infrequent days off afforded to major league baseball players. That being said, it must be admitted that performance enhancing drugs do not improve hand eye coordination required to hit successfully. McGwire claims he would have hit all of those dingers anyway. In reality, probably not. If the steroids restored health, then he was able to get back on the field faster and more often than he would have without the substance. This fact alone increases homerun numbers beyond what would have naturally happened without the substance assistance. One thing is for absolute sure: we will never know! While on the subject, when will one of these substance abusers come out and simply say, “I did it. I wish I had not done it. Steriods are aweful, terrible and dangerous stuff. Given the chance the juice will ruin your career and life.” Wouldn’t that be refreshing? I loved watching McGwire bash the ball, pick up his son at homeplate and embrace the Maris family. I just wish it had all been good, clean fun.