Mark, we knew this day was coming. The day you’d decide you wanted to come clean to shake off that bad karma, restore a tiny bit of luster to your name, and, of course, return to gainful employment in Major League Baseball.

This I can’t begrudge you. We all need to move on. Pick up the pieces and set our lives back in motion.

What I can’t seem to get my arms around, however, is the fact that you’ve had four and a half years to devise an excuse for cheating on the Great American Pastime, and the best you could come up with was that you used steroids to bounce back from injuries?

Come on! I make up better excuses in twenty seconds or less. Found pantsless in the office kitchen? I was attacked by rabid weasels and fashioned a crude whip out of my trousers to ward them off! Drunk during an client retreat? Don’t blame me, it’s the cold medication my doctor prescribed. Caught trying to break into Heidi Watney’s shed? Sorry, it looks just like my Uncle Sid’s.

You get the point. Not that coming clean isn’t admirable, even if done to clear the path for employment by the Cardinals. But there are better excuses you could have used to garner a bit of sympathy.

For example, the sun.

Look, I’m a redhead, just like you. My skin is fish belly white–almost translucent, in fact–and in the summertime, my pallid ass stands out from the lightly-browned masses like Charlton Heston wandering through Ape City. But as much as it’s been a curse, forcing me to run, arms flailing, whenever rays of sunshine push out from behind the clouds, it’s also been something of a blessing. People know I don’t want to risk third-degree sunburn by going to their beach party or their cookout or their dance-a-thon on Vodka Island. So for the most part, from June through September, they just leave me alone. Which is perfectly fine, because it leaves me more time for watching the Sox, blogging, chicanery and finishing up that tunnel I’m digging from West Roxbury to Tina Cervasio’s living room.

Had you been thinking, Mr. McGwire, you might, too, have been able to invoke this most magnificent alibi. Instead of weeping openly in front of Boob Costas, you could have simply walked up to a podium and explained, “As a red-haired man who plays a game outdoors in the summer, I’m exposed to a lot of sunshine. I was advised that steroids could help blunt the sun’s harmful effects, and save my life. And so, yadda yadda yadda… hey, is that Lee Majors?”

And that would have been the end of it.

Who cares if it’s absolute bullshit? Everyone understands the plight of the red-haired man in the summertime. They see us on the beach and hand us an umbrella. They observe us under hot reading lamps and suggest we take a break. They watch our calves burn scorching red where we forgot to apply the SPF 2000 and grimace and turn away, thankful for their body’s ability to produce ample amounts of melanin. Look, there’s a reason Conan O’Brien is willing to walk away from The Tonight Show rather than see it sullied by a move to five past midnight. It’s that damn California sun.

All I’m saying is it could have been an easy way out, champ. And you blew it.

As a baseball fan, I’m disappointed. But as a fellow ginger, I’m disgusted.