- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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ST. LOUIS -- Mark McGwire was emotional and regretful as he sat in the visitors dugout at Busch Stadium on Monday night after Major League Baseball suspended 13 players, including Alex Rodriguez, for using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I wish I was never a part of it," McGwire said. "Just get rid of it. If it's better to have bigger suspensions, then they're going to have to change it."
McGwire was one of the most prominent figures of baseball's steroids era and has admitted he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998.
"I wish there were things in place earlier," McGwire said. "They were put in in 2003 I think. I just really hope and pray that this is the end of it. Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of it, and I hope this is the end of it. ... I wish I was never part of it."
McGwire finally admitted to using steroids in 2010 before he became the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. He took over as the Los Angeles Dodgers' hitting coach this season and said he has talked to players over the years about the harm that performance-enhancing drugs can cause.
"It's not worth it at all," McGwire said.
McGwire said he wasn't sure whether the suspensions were too harsh or not harsh enough but was happy to see MLB cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs.
"It doesn't matter what I think; I think it matters what the players think, and from what I hear every day in the clubhouse, they're just happy it's coming to an end," McGwire said. "They're happy that Major League Baseball is taking care of it and we can move forward. Hopefully this will be the end of it."
Another change over the past 15 years has been the number of players who have come out against PED users and the fact that the players' union is advocating better testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
"That's good, I think it's really good," McGwire said. "I think [Evan] Longoria said it was one of the saddest days in baseball. It is. It's really bad. I just hope it's over with and we don't have to sit here and talk about this anymore. I just pray and hope that it is."
McGwire, who had 583 home runs and 1,626 hits during his 16-year career, also seemed at peace with the fact that his use of performance-enhancing drugs will prevent him from ever getting into the Hall of Fame.
"Unfortunately, I don't believe there will be a day that I will be in there," McGwire said. "That's OK. That's the way things are. I've dealt with it. I'm OK with it."
Asked whether the dark clouds of PEDs that have hung over the game since he was a player are close to finally leaving, he smiled.
"I hope so," he said. "I really hope so."