Thursday, February 16, 2006

Baseball been berry berry good to me


It looks like we have come to the end of the career of Sammy Sosa. I can't say that I'm sad to see him go. He is one of the poster children for "better living through science". During the late nineties, he went from a 30 home run guy (averaging 34 HR's during the 5 years prior to 1998) to a 60 home run guy (averaging 58 HR's during the next five years) overnight. He is the only person to have hit 60 home runs in 3 different seasons. At least his offensive explosion happened during his athletic prime (which can't be said about Barry Bonds), but the difference is just too startling to be easily or naturally explained.

I can't say that I'll remember fondly his home run chase with Mark McGwire, but what I will remember is his corked bat exploding all over the field. I'll also remember his run in with a sports writer over getting a steroids test. After proclaiming that he would get tested any time and any place, Rick Reily from SI asked him to go and get tested that day. He of course refused and acted as if Reily had insulted his mother.

Is it just coincidence that Sammy's power disappeared when they instituted the steroid ban in baseball? It's possible, and since there is no hard evidence to prove that he took steroids, I guess some will believe that it is just coincidence (although I'm sure those people are limited to Sammy's family members and paid employees). Sammy was always a good ambassador for baseball and for that I guess he deserves some credit. He also deserves the blame for giving baseball a huge black eye. His performance before Congress was appalling. He was clearly trying to cover something up. I wish I could claim not to, "speaka de inglish so good", when I got asked a question I didn't want to answer.

So I say goodbye to Slammin' Sammy (although I think Steroid Sammy or Corked Bat Sammy would be more appropriate), the game is better off and perhaps just a little bit cleaner without you. I guess the next time we see you will be when you're inducted into cooperstown, where I'm sure that you will claim that you never did anything illegal or took any performance enhancing drugs. I'd like to think that on that day, most Baseball fans will not "speaka de inglish so good" either.

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