Over 600 homeruns, 1,600 rbi’s and 2,400 hits; a player with those kind of stats would be treated like a king in most towns. For Sammy Sosa, that’s not the case in the city of Chicago. Like most Cub fans, the organization has chosen to forget what Sammy accomplished in a Cubs uniform and make it seem like he never existed. The only signs of Sosa at Wrigley Field are two little flags on the top of the stadium: one reading “66,” and the other reading “Sammy” (The only reason I know that is due to the fact they auction these flags off at the Cubs Convention each year). For a guy that meant so much to the organization, that needs to change!
Sammy Sosa was the heart and soul of the Chicago Cubs from the mid 90’s to 2004. Anyone who bought a ticket to Wrigley during this time didn’t come to see the Cubs play, they came to watch Sosa hit. Routinely, after Sammy’s last at bat, the stadium would empty out. At the end of the 2004 season, everyone, including the team, wanted to “rid” themselves of Sammy. They snapped pictures of him leaving the stadium early. The next morning, those pictures were plastered all over the local newspapers with the title “quitter” attached. From that day on, Sammy has been villainized in the city of Chicago.
Since his departure in 2004, the steroid allegations have followed him. Even though he was never caught while playing, there were reports that he tested positive. Even if he did do it, everyone during the late 90’s had extra help. Heck, even Neifi Perez was caught taking the juice. Since the beginning of time, athletes have always tried to find a way to give themselves an “edge.” Even though they are testing for steroids today, the doctors are always one step ahead and I’m sure there are current athletes taking some sort of new drug. Even if Sosa did take some sort of steroids, this shouldn’t discredit what he did for the organization.
Sure, Sosa had his quirks about him, but he never did anything to harm people. The guy interacted with fans constantly during the game and always stopped to sign autographs. But for some reason, people have pegged Sosa a villain. This is the same town that idolizes the likes of Bobby Hull (domestic abuse issues), Dennis Rodman (violence towards women), and Bob Probert (drug & alcohol problems). For a city to idolize guys who have criminal records, but to make Sosa a villain, is just inexcusable.
With the Cubs Convention this week, the organization should extend the olive branch out to Sosa and invite him back into the organization. They could start by bringing him to the convention, or even have him sing take me out to the ball game. The Cubs have had every, and I mean every, past Cubs player sing it, but never once have had Sosa. They don’t necessarily have to retire his number (even though they should), but they could have a Sammy Sosa appreciation day. If the organization felt that Kerry Wood deserved an “appreciation day,” there’s no way Sammy Sosa doesn’t. Just recently, Barry Bonds was invited in San Francisco to throw out the first pitch at a playoff game. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. I would hope Chicago would do the same for Sammy.
While baseball might be “very very good” to Sammy Sosa, the city of Chicago has not. Sammy was there when this city needed him most; to bring baseball back to the fun loving game it was intended to be in the late 90’s. And now, when Sammy needs the city of Chicago to rally around him for his place in baseball history, the whole city, including the organization, has turned a blind eye. Chicago, the time is now to recognize what Sammy has done for this city, and welcome him back with open arms.