Aqua Seafoam Shame

As a general rule, I don't pay much attention to the Cubs Convention. It's a love-fest, and that's fine as in the middle of winter the thought of baseball can at least make the brain-freeze temps seems bearable...for like a minute and a half. The news is rare, and what there is is usually some player telling us he's changed his off-season regimen and/or this is the best he's felt in a long time. And you get your first look at free agent signings in Cubs jerseys I guess, though hoping they don't plan on playing with a turtleneck under it and suit pants when the season starts.

Still, a more interesting nugget than usual popped up on Saturday when Tom Ricketts had a thought, even an original one if you can believe it, regarding Sammy Sosa.

From the Sun-Times: “Players of that era owe us a little bit of honesty, too,” he said. “I feel like the only way to turn this page is just to put everything on the table. That’s the way I feel.”

Of course, this seems in direct conflict with Ricketts's quotes right before it:

“I really believe all the players from that era who were in that kind of steroid era … I think we owe them a lot of understanding,” Ricketts said. “We have to put ourselves in their shoes and be very, very sympathetic to everything, all the decisions they had to make, and certainly as it turned out after testing had begun in 2002, a large number of players test positive.”

What I'm not sure I understand is what Ricketts's endgame is.

Where did he get this idea, I wonder? Certainly I've never heard a lot of fans clamoring for Sosa and others to issue an apology, at least not in a long time. It's kind of a known secret what went on, and though Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, and how many others you want to include have never explicitly come out and said what they did, I don't think they have to.

At this point, I'm not sure what they're apologizing for, or what they would be. They didn't really break any rules when they were doing it, and certainly not ones MLB had any hope of enforcing. And in some ways, they've been screwed over. Bud Selig built the "revitalization" of the game after the strike of 1994 on their accomplishments, even though it was pretty clear what was going on. No one said anything. And then once the winds changed, Selig and baseball lashed out and froze out the very players who apparently had "saved" the game.

As for Sosa himself, is this something that Cubs fans really care about? I just don't get the sense that it is. And really, I'm not sure Cubs fans care about Sosa that much any more at all. It's been over 13 years since he walked out before the end of the 2004 season, and that's been it. It was easy to pin his PED use as a reason to keep him cast out when the feelings over that were still raw. But does it make any sense to now? Some I'm sure would like to say so, but they were alos probably cheering their heads off when Sosa was dragging an underwhelming '98 team into the playoffs by its ears, or keeping the 2001 team in contention, or a huge part of the 2003 team. We don't get it both ways.

Sosa was weird, yes. His teammates most likely hated him to a man. He didn't care about much else except Sammy. The press didn't care much more for him than his teammates did, which has certainly colored how he's viewed now.

And yet he was the only reason to watch the Cubs for a decade or more. Whatever he was, he wasn't boring.

I don't know what Ricketts is playing at here, honestly. Perhaps he fears that opening the door even a crack--a first pitch or pregame ceremony--would lead to a discussion about whether or not #21 should fly off one of the fair poles. And that very well could happen, because whether he likes it or not Sosa is one of the greatest Cubs of all time. That's just a fact. And while Sosa's numbers between 1998-2003 look downright cartoonish, if PEDs were never a thing and he'd just hit 30-35 homers for 12 straight years, would we even be having a debate about his number being retired?

It's also a strange moral high-ground for Ricketts to take. One, Manny Ramirez was a coach in the organization and not only does he have the same PED cloud over him but he quit on the Red Sox to force a trade to the Dodgers in even worse fashion than Sosa did in '04. But that didn't happen here so I guess no one cares? Ricketts presided over a team that traded for Aroldis Chapman, so what is this soul he's trying to hold onto, exactly? Of the two, Chapman and Sosa, which committed the worse offense? Oh yes, Addison Russell is still the starting shortstop, and we can't say there isn't a cloud with him, too.

It feels like Ricketts here is just beating up on an easy target, one that costs him nothing. Sosa is off on the outer rim, and his response to this, if there is one, isn't going to cause much of a ripple anywhere. Ricketts is using him as a stepping stool basically because he can. When he could have made a statement about his team's morality or principles that would have caused problems with his front office and/or the team on the field, he was the same fan we all are. And that's fine in some ways. I don't expect a sports organization to be a paragon of virtue and I doubt too many people do.

Whatever Ricketts hoped to accomplish, he missed.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Thanks for this one, Sam. I have repeatedly posted here that the baseball writers who are now holier-then-thou in voting against Bonds, McGuire (and others) in the HOF are the ultimate hypocrites. They more than anyone knew what was going on and they just kept their mouths shut at the time. The Chicago beat-writers (and most of the fans) lovingly commented on Sammy's cute quote about Flinstone Vitamins. Everyone loved the homers and crazy numbers. MeToo!

    In the end, most Cub fans I know are not as hung up on Sammy's PEDs issue as they are the corked bat and, most significantly, the way he walked out on the team as they collapsed in the last week of the 2004 season.

    I wish Sammy would be welcomed back with open arms. I loved him. Not just for the homers. It seemed to me that he always played all-out.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein were on Sosa nearly every day so not everyone just rolled over. I personally couldn't stand Sosa. It was clear he was cheating and rampant egomaniacs don't do a much for me. That said I do think the Rickets thing is strange. Who cares? At this point if you like Sosa, and he was part of your reason for being a fan, your feelings are unlikely to change and if you disliked him an apology is probably not going to move the needle. I took a lot of heat for my disdain for him at the time and felt somewhat vindicated later but absolutely none of that matters now, especially after 2016. Leave it alone Mr. Ricketts.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Maybe Rickets understands that if Sammy wouldn't have helped "save" baseball after the strike and carried the Cubs for 10 years then the Rickets family could have purchased them for 1/10th of what they ended up paying?

    I like Tom Rickets and will be forever grateful for what him and his family have done for the organization, but I don't side with him on this one. Bring back Sammy, acknowledge his importance and let the fans decide for themselves how they want to view him. They will anyway.

  • I agree with your assessment of Ricketts' statement, Sam. It's total BS. Sammy was the only reason to watch the Cubs for many years. This organization should be eternally grateful for what he accomplished in the uniform. I think for the most part Ricketts has done an admirable job as owner, I am by no means a critic of him, until now. What he said about Sammy was low and cowardly.

    I say this because no MLB owner has the right to criticize any player's potential involvement in steroids during that era. Not until they confess that they were just as culpable. The owners, the GMs, the managers, and yes most definitely the commissioner were complicit in encouraging steroid use among MLB players after the strike season. They pushed the McGuire/Sosa race to break the homerun record to absurd heights, to boost attendance when it previously was low.

    Yet these people knew better than anyone else that players had been taking steroids for years without any penalty or attempted retribution. I believe a guy like Bonds, who is truly one of the greatest players, actually came in late to the steroids party, because he saw players who weren't 1/10th of the player he was, surpassing his offensive numbers.

    The steroid era lasted so long because the FOs and owners were so silent about the obvious problem for quite some time.

    I know Ricketts wasn't an owner during this time, but he surely must know the owners should speak out about their willful ignorance during this era.

  • Suspecting and knowing(proof?) are two different things. I'm not convinced that everybody knew or, that it would be appropriate to start making accusations without evidence. I'm good with holding the cheaters , accountable. Thumbs up for Tom. Personal problems that impact ones integrity is not viewed the same by baseball as those that violate the integrity of the game like gambling and using performance enhancers.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    How can any of the players for the era be called cheaters when PED’s were not against baseball’s rules? And PED’s were not illegal in the DR or other Latin countries. This dilemma lies at the feet of Bud Selig.

    I don’t understand that argument.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    PED's were illegal here in the states and players were taking them durning the season. I do not think it was fair for Ricketts to single out Sosa on this issue.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Baseball rules not federal

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They weren’t legal here in the US regardless of whether or not they were in MLB. A rule didn’t/shouldn’t have to be written for something illegal in the country.... No player of any origin should’ve been on them while playing in the US.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Then baseball should of had tests and punishments for usage.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    That’s how they got caught... Should they have tested them for murders, wife beatings, child abusing, stealing, speeding, reckless driving, dumbassery, stupidity & a holiness too?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The commissioner, owners, managers, writers, and players all knew what was going on. There are reports the trainers assisted the players in their usage. The era started way before most think and players are still using.

  • Sam, TTP, and Hef all hit on the points that I am in agreement with.

    And I like how TC weaves in his view.

    Nothing to add except I’m not understanding what Tom was doing here. I bet he’d like a do-over on this talk track.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    You'll notice that I don't agree with Ricketts on this one either and I don't like Sosa. No matter what your feelings are it was a weird thing to say. Let it go, let him be part of the team or don't but setting guidelines for his return seems, umm I don't know unseemly?

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yep. You point was right on. Well said from a person who was not a Sammy fan.

  • It’s definitely a different approach than the Giants, who last year made Bonds a “special assistant” to the CEO.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I'm curious, I have several Giants fan friends that live out there and they all despise Bonds but someone here mentioned the other day that he was extremely popular among Giants fans. Are my friends not indicative of the general attitude, is it split, or what? Genuinely curious.

  • In reply to TC154:

    He seems pretty popular. The team is going to retire his number, put him on their wall of fame, and probably eventually build a statue.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Interesting, thanks. I often wonder if people will even care about the PED era as time continues to go by. I have to admit I was outraged by it and considered giving up the game for a while and even I've softened on it as time as gone by. It's really hardly worth talking about anymore as the past is the past, not much we can do about it now.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Don't you think players are still using?

  • fb_avatar

    I personally don't care one way or the other about Sosa being recognized by the Cubs. However, He did use a corked bat and he did test positive for PEDs. Steroids were in fact added to the banned substance list in 1991. As a first time offender in 2003 he was not punished as most of the ones who tested positive at the time weren't. It's mostly sad that the some who didn't cheat and had a great year or years were painted with the same brush.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    He never tested positive.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Yes he did. "The Times said Sosa is one of 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey, which has been the subject of a protracted court fight. The paper did not identify the drug." http://www.espn.com/mlb/news/story?id=4264062

  • In reply to TC154:

    That is an unconfirmed report
    Do you believe all 104 names are guilty in this report?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Sosa tested positive in that survey. I also believe that all 104 of those players were guilty. What I am surprised at is there were not more who tested positive.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If I remember correctly, there were some players who refused to take the test, which would be counted as a positive, so that the threshold for mandatory testing would be reached. If a refusal counted as a positive, that positive shouldn’t really be considered a positive.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It's an unconfirmed report believed by almost everyone in the game and which led to the current rules. Yes I believe all of the names in the report were guilty. The steroid era nearly ruined the game of baseball for me, those are memories I would prefer to leave in the past, but I won't ever completely forget about how that era, Bud Selig, Tony LaRussa and so many of the enablers made me feel.

  • In reply to TC154:

    To reiterate though I have softened on this over the years. I don't feel any differently about the bad actors but I also don't think that efforts to keep them out of the HoF, continue to discuss them, etc. do any good for the game going forward. I had better stop now before I forget my resolve in this area.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    That unconfirmed report also has Kerry Wood on it among other cubs players. Funny that Rickets loves Wood. Kerry hated Sosa so Tom does too. I believe this whole thing is about Woods dislike for Sammy.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Exactly. And I wouldn't doubt that other players who were -- or would have been -- welcome at Cubs Con dabbled in PEDs at some point. (After all, steroid use started way before Sosa's time.) It's just strange that Sammy gets singled out this way. He did leave on bad terms but geez ... he was a superstar level talent who carried the offense for several years and may have singularly sold more tickets than any Cub in history.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Pedro Martinez was on that list - should he be in the HOF?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    What I said was that I don't think these conversations do the HoF any good. My personal feeling is no I don't think anyone that tested positive should be in the HoF, but I've come to a point where personal feelings should have anything to do with this as it's become entirely to muddled to ever come up with the correct answer. There are two way to look at the HoF, the first is as the highest honor a player can achieve and an elite fraternity of the very best. The second is that it is a museum featuring all the good and bad of baseball and that elevation to the Hall is based almost solely on one's performance. If it's the latter then Joe Jackson and Pete Rose should be in as well as all known or unknown PED users. I have always considered it the former but I no longer feel like debating the question. Let them all in, I don't think rehashing all of this all the time does anyone any good and sure as heck doesn't settle anything.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It is a museum showing the history of the game. It is not affiliated with major league baseball. Put the very best in from every era. If baseball didn't want records to be broken then rules with tests and punishments should have been in place.

  • Ricketts was way off on this. Not sure what he was trying to accomplish. My love and gratitude are toward Sammy. In 20 years when we reflect back I will always remember one of the greatest cubs of all time. I will have to look up who the owner was. With that being said I wish both sides could get along. The fans would really appreciate it.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes, sir.

    One of my favorite Sammy moments: Cubs down 6-4 with two outs and a man on in the bottom of the 9th in Game 1 of the 2003 NLCS, Sammy cranked a towering drive onto Waveland to tie the game. I was lucky to be there. Wrigley was shaking like I'd never seen before. Oh my, what a moment that was.

    SAMMY! SAMMY! SAMMY!

  • In reply to TTP:

    I loved the first game back from 9/11!!! Running with the flag was super cool.

  • Manny has admitted and apologized for his PED use, so that is why he was hired. Also Screw all the known PED users hope none of em make the hall

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    How do you know some of them aren't already in the hall?

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Maybe, but I think that comment was more intended for Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Ramirez, Sosa, et. al.

  • In reply to Senator Blutarski:

    Bonds & Clemens will be in soon

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    If Bonds and Clemens get in, it would benefit the argument for Sammy. Still the Hall is not a package deal.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Sorry - I don't see Clemens or Bonds being admitted in the near future. Both are at about 54%, and I think 21% more writers will flip their vote.

    I hope they don't.

  • In reply to Senator Blutarski:

    Both running at 66% this year with over 40% of the votes received.

    I think they get in next year. I hope they do get in. Can't have a HOF without the all time Home run leader and pitcher with most Cy Young awards.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Many users are in the HOF

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    they probably are, and its a slap in the face to everyone in there who did it the right way

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Each era can be taken into context. Records before playing against Black and Latino players could be viewed skeptically. And records with the pitching mound ridiculously high could also be viewed in that manner. The steroid era should be taken in context — the clear and the cream and HGH era.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Who is in only doing it the right way? It is not the hall of saints.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Admitted?? - He failed a test twice - He was caught

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Do you want to kick out all the amphetamine users - which are PEDs - out of the HOF?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Nobody ever hit a baseball one foot farther for having taken amphetamines. What's next in this silly analogy - coffee drinkers? Breath-mint users?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Do some research

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I made living as a certified drug counselor including PEDs. You?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I have researched the topic extensively. Do you consider amphetamines as PEDs?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cliff1969:

    As a chemist I can assure you that amphetamines definitely would help someone hit a ball further. Amphetamines increase muscle strength, endurance and reaction time. The biggest difference is that anabolic steroids have a more permanent effect, whereas amphetamine (aka greenies from the 40s through the 80s) effects last much shorter.

  • In reply to Tyler Cunningham:

    Well, that's an oversimplification. PED s do much more than that and there is huge difference in degree. Amphetamines didn't alter all of the history of America's baseball records beyond recognition.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    Of course it was an over simplification. I didn't think a biochemistry lesson would be relevant to the discussion. Obviously steroids are more effective because the effects change your actual body composition but to say amphetamines have no positive effects (stat wise) on ball players is false.

  • In reply to Tyler Cunningham:

    Sorry, it's just that it's upsetting to me when fans compare the two as similar. It's like the difference in lite beer and moonshine.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    this statement is ridiculous

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I feel like this post could be attached to most of his posts...

  • I never liked Sosa from the early reports I heard about him being dismissive of coaching/constructive criticism. I do not like egomaniacs. I don't care for anyone who believes the clubhouse is HIS (boom box obit). I don't like a captain who quits on his team. I don't like a cheater (bat for sure, 'roids....if I had to guess).

    I would not be surprised if Soso expects an apology FROM the Cubs and the HOF. I hope demanding he "come clean" may offend his ego and he will not comply

    Soso would have to look up to find Don Young next up on my bleep list.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Wow. You're certainly entitled to your view of the man. But too bad you didn't appreciate the joy of so many great Sammy moments.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I detest him

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    When did he quit on his teammates? You have described a lot of former mlb in having an ego and hard to coach. How do you feel about players that break law and get DUI’s or busted for other things?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Personal flaws and bad decisions are different than putting one's self above the team. A player does not have to be a perfect individual to be a good teammate.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    So being a good teammate is ok. So as long as a good teammate you can get DUIs and introuble??? When did Sammy put himself above the team? Don’t say PEDs either. So if a guy spends extra time in the cage or weight room he is putting self above the team? He is trying to gain a advantage over others. I want to know when he quit on teammates.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    What would you call walking out of the clubhouse before the end of the season? I cheered for Sammy and I do not think that he did anything that cannot be forgiven. He just needs to make even a small contrite gesture, I think.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Refresh my memory. When did we walkout and not finish the year?? I honestly don’t remember.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    2004

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don’t recall that. He literally left the team before the season was done?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The walk out was approved by the front office then later orchestrated to make him look bad and allow them to trade him. He had permission to do this a few times in the past. The front office had a different set of rules for Sosa. They built him up then discarded him when he was near the end.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Give it up Wait. No one would recognize Sammy now anyway. He is a heavy set cheeky white guy with a comb over.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    LMAO

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Sosa would be welcomed back by the majority of fans

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    He booked out early despite being a "captain". There ARE many of his ilk. I don't like them either. I have no idea why the second question but I don't support such behavior either.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    The second comes from what you said about him being a cheater, ego and using locker room for his boom box. First gas Sammy ever been tested positive for a PED??? So without concrete evidence we link him to it. The cork bat was a bone head but wonder how often guys get away with it or pitcher minupulates the ball?
    I just don’t get the timing of it. Sammy doesn’t owe Ricketts anything or “honesty”. Tommy wasn’t even thought of when Sammy was a cub. Like it or not Sosa is one of the best cub players to put on a uniform. It has been almost 15 years I wish fans that think like you and cub management would burry the hatchet and welcome Sammy back.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I don't think you have the complete story on Sosa.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I have seen and read enough to be comfortable with my feelings for him

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Having started with the Williams/Santo Cubs, I was happy with the arrival of Sammy and was a huge fan. I loved the homerun chase with MM. Sammy did not have a good 2004 year (not a bad year, but not like his previous years), but the vibe of the team was just wrong. The last game of the year Sosa walks out of the park 15 minutes after the game started. He never put on his uniform. I have never heard or read that Sammy apologised for that action (and don't tell me agent took care of that). All those years I rooted for him, was happy he was a Cub and he just turns his back on the team and leaves and never said I'm sorry. I stopped being a fan that day, and have never looked back. I do not wish to see him back as a former Cub ever. Now I don't feel strongly one way or the other concerning steroids usage because I loved that 1998 season, it was magical. But I can't forget Sosa's betrayal of his teammates by just leaving in the 1st inning of the last game of the season. That was a big FU to all us Cub fans. Oh and Sosa saying he stayed until the 7th inning was icing on the cake. So whoever smashed his boombox into a thousand pieces, this Bud's for you!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Hal McCarty:

    I agree. When you walk out on your team you walk out on your organization and your fans.

  • In reply to Ray:

    and him claiming he didnt speak english at the ped hearings was another clue to his character traits

  • In reply to Ray:

    The team let him leave then turned on him

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I'll bet the team corked his bat, too...

  • In reply to Hal McCarty:

    He did not walk out. He had a different set of rules and once he wasn't producing his elite level the front office threw him under the bus to get rid of him.

  • As with any cross section of 750 or so people across many nationalities, you will have some boy scouts and some borderline or outright criminals.

    No one really knows what happened with Russell other than him and his ex-wife. I put no value in the ex-wife's friend's tweet / comment. All B.S to me.

    I didn't like the acquisition of Chapman for a number of reasons, but Ricketts / Theo had to make a judgement call of trying to end 108 years of futility for the fans, or playing holier than thou and look for an Eagle Scout who throws 103 mph. We know what they chose and are happier for it. (Although the evidence appeared to be against Chapman, no charges were actually brought against him. Nor sure why.)

    And I am fine with Sosa being away from the Cubs. It was pretty evident to me that he was on steroids or HGH. All that B.S. about Flintstone vitamins. He smiles as he lies to your face. I didn't like that then and don't like it now.

  • Good column. Why is Ricketts commenting on this is a good question. Here's my best guess. I once worked for a political official who oversaw a unionized workforce. A major media crisis erupted over the actions of a couple union employees. My boss in our meetings with our lawyers asked, "Can I fire someone?" The lawyers paused and said, "Actually you can." My boss was stunned with relief. "Really?! You always tell me I can't fire anyone. Great. I'm firing them."

    I think this explains Ricketts. Theo/Jed run a very diplomatically disciplined ship. Dempster blocks a trade to the Braves, and you don't hear them erupting in the papers. LaStella didn't take demotion to Triple A in 2016 to protect his ML service time and get to arbitration a year early, and nothing negative was leaked publicly. They know the value of long-term relationships and also of protecting their relationship in the eyes of all players and agents. Getting a chip off your shoulder is never worthwhile when it can cost you a chip needed for a title later down the road.

    I think Ricketts' spouting off about Sosa is like Sam said: Sosa is an easy convenient target without any downside. Sosa was the rare time Ricketts could spout off about a player, after probably many times holding his tongue. I think Ricketts as a fan hates the permanent presence of PEDs in the game. But Theo/Jed sits on one shoulder and whispers to him to be sympathetic to individual players and the steroids arms race that started without intervention by owners or unions in the late 80s and escalated throughout the 90s and early '00s. So what happened in this case is we heard both paradoxical quotes from him. Both his fan side and his Theo/Jed side.

    I personally think there is more at work in the Sosa/Cubs relationship than an apology. So I actually am critical of Ricketts for -- if you are going to entertain the question -- to deflect from candor with his hypocritical proclamation.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    That unconfirmed report of steroid users in 2003 also has Kerry Wood on it among other cubs players. Funny that Rickets loves Wood. Kerry hated Sosa so Tom does too. I believe this whole thing is about Woods dislike for Sammy.

    I also posted this above, but it applies here to.

  • fb_avatar

    I admit that I loved watching Sosa hit all those homers, but the corked bat and leaving the clubhouse early and realizing that he "cheated" to be able to hit all those HRs turned me against him, as well as his egoism and that damned boom box!
    If PEDs were not explicitly banned by baseball they did require a doctor's prescription and I'm pretty sure he didn't get one of those. For me, no Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Palmeiro, etc.
    I said this a few years ago, but I don't exactly know where to draw the line. Caffeine helps if you're sleepy, vitamins help also, other supplements keep moving the line as to what helps the body do
    better--where do vitamins end and steroids begin? We are doing more and more research about how to get healthier and heal better. I don't know how to answer this.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    A corked bat does not allow you to hit a ball farther, he was allowed to leave early by the team and the team had a different set of rules for Sosa including the boom box along with baseball did nothing for a long time regarding PEDs.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    What? If a corked bat doesn't allow you to hit a ball farther, then, why is it considered cheating to have a corked bat? Why would anyone do it? You think they're saving it for wine bottles after the game?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    A corked bat does have less weight, as a result it also transfers less force when it hits a baseball. Plus, the cork absorbs some of the impact, sending the ball off more slowly.

    This means that if you hit an 80-mph pitch, the ball will fly off at about half that speed and travel a shorter distance than it would if hit by a solid wood bat. Basically a corked bat, compared with a regulation bat, is more like a sponge than a spring.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Why in the world would a MLB ballplayer want to use a bat that reduces the distance a batted ball will travel? That explanation makes no sense at all.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It does allow you to hit it further. That's the purpose.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    It does not allow you to hit a ball farther. It makes the bat lighter so as a player ages they can keep up bat speed as the player is slowing down.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    LOL. yea right.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    and bat speed goes directy to how far you can hit the ball...
    you sacrafice the weight of the bat, and make up for it with more speed.
    Do you even science?

  • fb_avatar

    Just saw that the Giants are acquiring Andrew McCutcheon from the Pirates. I don't know who is going back. I hope Pittsburgh gets more than they got for Cole.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Probably not a ton although names haven't been disclosed yet. I heard Neal Huntington on MLB Radio this weekend though and he talked about choosing quantity over quality as an active strategy. Makes sense when you think about the fact that they already have a few young stars in Taillon, Meadows and Bell. I don't know if I agree with it but it does make sense.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It’s gotta suck to be a Pittsburgh fan after this weekend......

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Its gotta suck for over a third of the teams in baseball. Too many teams tanking and not trying to win. Not good for the sport.

  • Sam, I seldom read your articles because of the slant you seem to put on everything. For someone in your position to take cheap shots at Mr Ricketts because he isn't entitled to his opinion. He's a billionaire businesman and owner of the Cubs. He gets to direct the Cubs as the owner and is as long standing a fan as anyone else on this board. IMO give the man his due as the owner of the Cubs. He has the right to run his business in his own way. You have no say in the matter.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Good post!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Well, I guess Sam can have his opinion too. It was pretty harsh.

  • In reply to veteran:

    For someone in your position to take cheap shots at Sam because he isn't entitled to his opinion. [sic] He's a Cubs Den "house" writer. He gets to write about the Cubs and is as long standing a fan as anyone else on this board. IMO give the man his due as a Cubs Den writer writing about the Cubs. He has the right to post his articles in his own way. You have no say in the matter.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to veteran:

    And Tom sat in the stands and cheered for Sosa in those 2003 playoffs, but now bashes him because....?

  • Although I think it is wrong for any MLB owner to explicitly criticize a player for taking steroids during the steroid era (hopefully it's over), due to their silent complicity in order to bring back fans who had left due to the baseball strike, I am glad there was a crackdown on it. There needed to be a serious punishment for this egregious cheating in order to clean up the sport.

    But I think that the players were scapegoated for that era, while management deserved just as much of the blame (and punishment, too). It was so widespread for years, with nary a complaint from anyone officially involved in baseball, that you have to think many players cheated just to level the playing field for themselve. These guys are as competitive as any athlete in the world, and the money involved in contracts for MLBers was so relatively high, that the temptation to do it is very understandable. But it needed to be stopped, and that it took an act of congress to do it speaks volumes.

    Regarding Sosa, I know he was not popular with many teammates, and maybe justifiably so, but why he alone was worth the price of a ticket to Wrigley. He earned some special status. And do you think it really matters that he left the club house an hour before the last game of a meaningless season ended? I don't. Did they have a "Kum Bai Ya" sing-a-long scheduled for the showers after the game? Scottie Pippen left the Bulls in the middle of a playoff game, when the game was still undecided. And most people forgive him for that one moment. I certainly do.

    Sammy left the end of a totally meaningless game in which the season was already over. It was wrong, but totally forgivable, too.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    you think a owner of a baseball team can take any stance that in any way condones the use of PED's regardless of what they actually think about the matter? think about that for a second

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    No, I think owners (and GMs and managers, too) should admit their complicity in how steroid usage proliferated through MLB locker rooms. It's just my own opinion, obviously, but I think that some (many?) players, who otherwise would not have taken steroids, did take them to stay competitive with the initial band of cheaters. They took them because they saw most people in the industry turn a blind eye to what was going on. There was a feeling that they were at a competitive disadvantage if they didn't take steroids.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Other owners have welcomed back PED users to the organization. Does not mean they condone usage.

  • My feeling is the roid/Hgh users do not belong in the HoF. That said, I do not feel they should totally be ostracized from MLB when they weren’t suspended or banned from baseball for doing them.

    I know I can’t tell Ricketts or baseball what to do. I’m certainly not saying to retire their #s or even let em throw out pitches, but I think as a fan I can offer my opinion to them or others involved &/or talking about MLB. I am part of the pulse of the fan who pays to attend & watch on tv.

    My feeling is they can let em back to be part of the festivities, just not be the object of the festivities. Sammy was good for MLB & the Cubs during a time when both were on a down time. Buy no to the Hall & onto the #s on the foul poles.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    That last sentence was bad... *auto uncorrect*. Shoulda been “But” no to the Hall & “no to” the #s on the foul poles.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    They belong because they were the best of an era. They belong because all their records stand. They belong because baseball did nothing to prevent the players from using and winning WS titles and MVP & CY Young awards.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They aren’t Hall worthy. They cheated & all while being enabled by mgrs, ownership, pud selig, etc.

    Let them back for festivities, glad handing & autograph signings for the fans that love & revered them. The Cards let red face back & didnt act like they didn’t know what had happened. I bet 75 or more percent of Cub fans wouldn’t mind Sosa around the Cubs organization for events. Ricketts was a fan whether he’ll admit it or not. He met his wife in the bleachers cheering all those homers.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    How is the all time home run leader not hall worthy?
    Which of their records don't count?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    “They cheated...” its right there in my comment you just replied to.

  • And I agree w/you on the Cub Conventions... it’s a rah rah, love fest really meant to rally the young fans toward the Cubs. I wouldn’t mind “taking a kid” to one, but just going myself as an adult or following it on Cubby dot com is meh... not me. Obviously a hot stove announcement at it, I would tune or read about, but that’s it.

  • Remember when Sammy forgot how to speak English and had to have an interpreter at the hearings?

    I support Mr. Ricketts on this and hey if you don't, go watch the White Sox -- he played for them too -- before he juiced.

  • In reply to PANAMALIMITED:

    I'm not sure it's an "either-or" proposition. Cubs fans have a variety of positions on this and other matters, so banishing them to Sox fandom might be a little harsh...

    The Senate hearings you mentioned had a profound impact on my feelings towards Sosa and others. I'm willing to understand the various factors in the decision to use PEDs, but these players had an opportunity to do something about the issue AFTER it came to light as a serious issue in baseball - and every one of them bailed.

  • I love what the Ricketts family did for Chicago and making the
    Cubbies relevant .
    However, I wish Tom Ricketts would back down on this
    Sammy Sosa drama. In 1998, Sammy and Mark McGuire
    basically saved MLB. Sammy sold a lot of tickets. When the
    Cubbies were in L.A. playing the Dodgers, Sammy went
    out of his way to sign autographs for my two children and
    many other kids who looked up to him. There were other
    Cubs who wouldn't give us the time of day.
    Nobodies perfect, its time to bury the hatchet.

  • The feelings about a player evolve over time as one sees his career play out. I went from being really interested in Sammy (as a young, fast and powerful prospect with a cannon for an arm with the White Sox and then being traded to the Cubs) to disappointment when he seemed to play like a chicken with his head cut off, to excited when he seemed to settle down and learn how to hit in a disciplined fashion, to disappointed again when his ego seemed to overshadow his talent and he again failed to play with his head instead of just his muscles. Then, after the evidence began to mount about his use of PED's and other acts of dishonesty and leaving the team early, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth whenever I thought about him. I may have been excited at one time when I thought about him but now when I look back, I have a bad flavor in the back of my throat and I just wish it had never happened. There are women in my life I have felt that way about also and I don't wish to celebrate them now, either. It's not hypocritical -- it's how my feeling have evolved about him after all of these years. If Sammy wants me to feel differently about him going forward, he is going to have to do something to change how I feel about him. Until that happens, I don't care if they never do anything to "celebrate" him. I have no interest in something like that.

  • In reply to JoePepitone:

    I should add that I always held up "The Hawk" (Andre Dawson) as the kind of player I looked up to and wanted to have on my team. At his best, Dawson could (and would) beat you in any facet of the game. He always played with a focused ferocity, and always took any edge he could get to beat his opponent -- whether as a hitter, a baserunner, with his glove or with his arm (or his brain). He got the most out of his talent every time he stepped onto the field. That's the kind of player who earned my continuing respect and admiration. Not Sosa.

  • In reply to JoePepitone:

    What did Sosa do on the field that you don't admire? He played hard and performed at levels Dawson never achieved.

  • In reply to JoePepitone:

    Yea, who didn't love Sosa when he was with the White Sox. Hitting around .200 OBP below .300 with no power.

  • In reply to JoePepitone:

    There are a number of players that attended the Cub convention that were identified on the same list as Sosa and they were all welcomed.
    Why single out Sosa?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Wasn't he ASKED about Sosa?

  • I think Sosa really got a raw deal. I agree with whoever said, how do you employ Manny Ramirez, 2 drug suspensions + walked out on his team, but expect Sosa to crawl across broken glass before welcoming him back.

    Keeping in mind Sosa's era, where it 15% failed the "anonymous" test. + an additional ~3% got caught through the Macnamara/Balco investigations who "slipped" through that "anonymous" test.

    Means at least 18% of Sosa contemporaries were using at that time. If you were to include, individuals who were between cycles or dabbled at other times, I strongly suspect the PED users were closer 50% of his contemporaries. I would be absolutely shocked if it was under 40%.

    Not that Sosa is a hero for what he did, but let's compare him with the revered Mark Grace. 1 guy took PEDs, like a great deal of contemporaries and worked out like crazy to become 1 of the best players. The other guy didn't take PEDs, didn't work out, and partied, smoke, drank his way through the North Side of Chicago (plus brought prized phenom Kerry Wood along with him).

    As I said, I'm not saying what Sosa did was right, but at the same time I have to recognize he did everything to become the best possible player he could be, even stuff he shouldn't have. But what could Grace have done if he got 40 winks, stayed sober, and hit the gym occasionally?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Mark Grace was a favorite of mine and I often wonder how good he could have been if he played a few of those day games sober. A .400 hitter? Then again he could've sucked while sober. I had a boss nobody could stand and wasn't good at his job when he was sober.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Interesting take.

Leave a comment