Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

October 11, 2013

Big Mac is back: McGwire holds court in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Mark McGwire was back in his element, holding court in St. Louis.

Most major league coaches do their jobs in virtual anonymity behind the scenes. McGwire, however, is no ordinary hitting instructor and his homecoming is a juicy, natural subplot in this NL championship series.

Once a star slugger for the Cardinals and later their batting coach, McGwire now serves in that role with the Los Angeles Dodgers on manager Don Mattingly's staff. So on Thursday evening, none of the players on either team received nearly as much attention at Busch Stadium.

A swarm of reporters surrounded Big Mac near the batting cage before the Dodgers' workout. He noticed the boom mike that hovered over the crowd and repeated answers to the second and third waves.

When talk turned to the best-of-seven NLCS, which begins Friday night in St. Louis, McGwire said he wasn't surprised the Cardinals stand in the way of the Dodgers' drive for their first pennant in a quarter-century.

"You know what? I think everybody figured you're going to have to go through St. Louis to get to the World Series,'' McGwire said. "Here we are. It's going to be a good series.''

Compared to his heyday, McGwire judged the gathering small. He still has in-laws in the area and said they'll be "sitting in red seats but wearing blue.''

McGwire knows Cardinals hitters well after spending the previous three seasons with them, and agrees with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny that his familiarity could prove useful.

"You can go through that clubhouse and realize that he's got his fingerprint on quite a few of them,'' Matheny said. "I was blown away at how a superstar player can also be a superstar coach.''

Before leaving for the West Coast to take a job closer to home, McGwire said he predicted stardom for Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter, who had a breakout season this year and became an All-Star. McGwire's successor, John Mabry, felt the same way.

"I'd have to say he's going to be in the talks for the MVP,'' McGwire said about Carpenter. "I'm very, very proud of him. A hard worker. He's just a baseball rat.''

It is McGwire's second trip this season to St. Louis, where he's always been a fan favorite. The former All-Star first baseman was instantly welcomed back from his baseball exile, which stemmed from steroid use that tainted his record-breaking home run feats.

The reception was warm in August, although McGwire is a bit curious about the greeting he'll get when the Dodgers line up for pregame introductions Friday night.

"It'll be interesting,'' McGwire said. "It'll be really fun.''

McGwire praised Carpenter's emergence, and said Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez never needed much help.

"I worked with a couple guys over there that are pretty good, but Hanley's devastating,'' McGwire said. "He's on another planet.

"I don't think anybody hits the ball harder.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0111web.jpg ‘Team behind the Team’

    For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
    Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAIA WBB: Oklahoma City to face Texas in exhibition

    Defending national champion Oklahoma City University will meet Texas for the first time in women's basketball in an exhibition Nov. 9 at the Erwin Center.

    July 23, 2014

  • OCU softball coaches earn regional honors

    Oklahoma City University softball coach Phil McSpadden and his assistant coaches have garnered NAIA Southwest Region coaching staff of the year for the third consecutive year from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

    July 23, 2014

  • Coshow earns first pro baseball win for Yankees' Class A team

    Former Oklahoma Christian standout Cale Coshow recorded his first professional baseball win on Sunday during a relief appearance for the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.

    July 23, 2014

  • JUCO pitcher Walker signs to play baseball for Oklahoma Christian

    Brennan Walker, a standout pitcher the past two years at Butler (Kan.) Community College, has signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at Oklahoma Christian, OC coach Lonny Cobble said Monday.

    July 23, 2014

  • FOOTBALL: UCO adds Smelser to coaching staff

    Central Oklahoma football coach Nick Bobeck announced Wednesday that Jason Smelser had joined the staff as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.

    July 23, 2014

  • Oologah's Cantwell among UCO baseball signees

    Central Oklahoma baseball coach Dax Leone has followed up a highly-successful 2014 campaign with a banner recruiting haul, adding 14 players to the roster.

    July 23, 2014

  • BIG 12 MEDIA DAYS: Wickline making immediate impact on Texas

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 23, 2014

  • MLB: Rays rough up Wainwright, roll past Cardinals, 7-2

    For a brief second, Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi could swear he was at Tropicana Field.

    Odorizzi, pitching 33 miles from his hometown of Highland, Illinois, allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead the Rays to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014