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Sammy done did it realll bad...
Previous | Next by zen 04 June, 2003 - 6:31 AM

No one else seems to have chimed's my thoughts on Sammy's corked bats, and other stuph.

6/4/2003 >> ralph

I was actually just waiting till I had some time to put my thoughts down. Zen, your piece was very well written and I'm impressed that someone else here is a big fan of baseball.

After the strike-shortened season of '94, baseball was in serious trouble. Attendance was down across the leagues, salaries and ticket prices were rising and the only thing that the fans had to show for it was a shortened season the year before w/no playoffs or World Series. I agree with you completely that Sammy was one of three players that saved baseball, along w/Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken, Jr. In 1998, the year of arguably the best home run race in history, I found two heroes; Sammy and Mark McGwire. As the season grew older and it became clear that both players would break the record set in 1961 by Roger Maris, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. This was exactly what MLB needed. The home run race, coupled with the Yankees playing for the best regular season record in history, renewed my faith and commitment to the game. I will never forget watching McGwire tie Maris' record and then break it a day later. Once the ball left the field, I remember sitting on my couch, watching him round the bases, my eyes welling with tears. Even though he had admitted using androstenedione earlier in the season, I felt like a little kid and he was my hero. At the end of the season, with both Mark and Sammy breaking the record and having the seasons of their lives, I was glad that in my eyes, baseball was gaining strength again. Its popularity was gaining with fans again and things were looking up.

Sammy has continued to put up God-like numbers at the plate for the past 5 years and he became one of the ambassadors of baseball. Last year, the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) that was reached in 1994-5 was due to expire and once again it looked like we were in for a strike. At that point, I swore to myself that if they indeed went on strike, that was it for me. I wouldn't get season tickets anymore for the Yanks and I would wash my hands of this game. Luckily, an 11th hour deal was struck avoiding a strike. Unfortunately, along with the near-strike, baseball suffered another black eye when has-beens Jose Canseco and Kevin Caminiti came forth and admitted to their own steroid use and made claims about how rampant steroid use is in baseball. Last year, overall, wasn't a good year for baseball. (Remember the All-Star Game debacle??)

Now, with last night's events, baseball's image is tarnished even further. Sammy Sosa, the second newest member of the illustrious 500 Home Run Club, was caught using a corked bat. I don't buy his explanation for a second either. What are the odds that the only time that he used a corked bat he got caught? I think that's pretty unlikely, but as you said, we'll have to see what they find when they inspect the rest of his bats. His image is definitely damaged and it brings into question his integrity. There have been long-standing rumors about his steroid use, which he has vehemently denied. I'm sure that's a can of worms that will now be reopened.

I know that there's cheating in baseball, I don't try to bury my head in the sand about it, but I just wish that the game could return to a purer form, like back in the days of Mantle, DiMaggio, Williams and the like. In the long run, I think that this will just be another black eye for the game. Something needs to be done to restore faith in the game and the athletes that play it. Events like this really make me question the records that are set now and make me wonder how many of these 'superstars' are playing purely on god-given talent, and how many of them are achieving these heights with the help of cheating.

More than anything else, I'm hurt that this game, which I love so much, is slowly slipping into having the reputation of being a dishonest sport.

6/4/2003 >> ben

i'm just gonna say it here... you two are two of the best prose writers i know... they pay lots of money to have sports writers like the two of you if you ever decide to switch careers...

(did i mention the freebies?)

6/4/2003 >> ben

i make that comment only because i know little about baseball other than the rules and the highlights... also, my own sport of choice has known little of either the fame or infamy of baseball, with one slight exception, which, if you ever get the honor of meeting the man, you would know is nothing to ever have gotten your speedos in a bunch about.

6/4/2003 >> erato

i don't follow baseball much but i do know that sammy has broken bats on several occasions and i don't think they found cork then.

6/4/2003 >> rich

I have been thinking for a while that they need to tamp down on the over powered hitting of late. In the mid to late 60's they lowered the pitchers mound a few inches to benefit the hitters. Now, with the talent pool of pitchers spread so thin, and these pumped up hitters I think they need to raise it back up.
Oh yeah also, I am not so sure I like this idea of a month long string of interleague games. Those games are really making the DH rule difference between American and National league ball stick out like a sore thumb. Can we kill that rule yet? I so much prefer National league ball. Sports strategy doesn't get much better then the triple switch.
This Sammy Sosa thing is sad, very sad. It is going to injure a game that really can hardly bare any more pain.
On a completely different baseball note. I was watching the Orioles game in Huston last night. Still not being over the Glen Davis trade (Steve Finnly, Curt Shilling and someone else) I really wanted to see them kick their ass in the teams first ever meeting. But, what in the hell is going on in center field in Huston? Why is it ever ball park now has to do something cute, just for the sake of being cute? I mean, there is a hill, a big freaking hill in center field. On the top of that hill there is a flag pole, and it is in play! This is nearly as disturbing to me as the seats on top of the green monster.

6/4/2003 >> rich

I blam word for my lack of "o"

6/4/2003 >> rich

Christ on a pogo stick, blame...

6/4/2003 >> zen

pete harnisch was the third party in that evil trade...

6/4/2003 >> rich

you sir, rock... yes he was, and he was considered that top guy in the trade at the time. I think Shilling might ever have been the "player to be named later."

6/5/2003 >> rich

George WIll on Sosa

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