|Thursday, September 13
Updated: September 14, 5:02 PM ET
McGwire rips MLB for taking too much time to decide
ST. LOUIS -- Mark McGwire criticized Major League Baseball Thursday for taking so long to postpone games the rest of the weekend.
McGwire launched into an impromptu state of the game speech minutes before the decision to take the rest of the week off was made public, and after the St. Louis Cardinals worked out at an empty Busch Stadium.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out sporting events are absolutely meaningless compared with what's going on in Washington and New York," McGwire said. "And why are people taking so long to make a decision, I have no idea."
In the wake of the terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, President Bush said Americans should resume their lives. Baseball, McGwire said, shouldn't even be on the list.
"For people to think it's OK to play sports this weekend is absolutely asinine," McGwire said. "This is the worst thing that can ever happen to the country and people are worried about making decisions on playing sporting events.
"I have no idea where their minds are, but I guarantee you if they knew somebody or had a family member in Washington or New York, they wouldn't even think about it."
McGwire said the call commissioner Bud Selig made on Thursday was an "easy decision."
"I feel ashamed we're even talking about it," McGwire said. "For athletes to presidents of universities, general managers, owners of teams, to even think about taking a field, they should be ashamed. It's absolutely asinine."
McGwire also ripped educators for keeping school in session the day of the attacks.
"I was really upset when I called home to see if my son went to school that day, that his private school was in session," McGwire said. "What are people thinking about?
"You send everybody home and you let everybody watch the TV and take in what's happened."
The Cardinals have been taking the field this week, except for Tuesday, the day of the attacks. NFL teams sent players home for the weekend on Thursday after deciding not to play this weekend, but manager Tony La Russa said day-to-day contact is important in baseball because timing is everything.
The Cardinals are taking the day off Friday, the national day of mourning, but have a workout scheduled for Saturday morning.
"The way you keep your timing is keep repeating as much as you can," La Russa said. "The boys have put a lot into these workouts, for whatever it's worth."
It hasn't been easy, for the manager or the players.
"It's hard to concentrate on anything," pitcher Dustin Hermanson said. "I know you can't be sad all the time, but it's hard to crack a smile, especially when you think about all of this. It just eliminates all kinds of happiness."
La Russa, speaking before the decision was announced, agreed with McGwire about baseball being of no importance right now.
"Sports is entertainment, and when it's appropriate to be entertained, I'm all for getting our games going," La Russa said. "But until that time, I think we're better off holding back.
"This is not an essential part of living, it's a diversion."