I for one, am glad that the big overpaid spoiled baby will be playing somewhere else. (sorry Baltimore
Nice piece on Sammy from the Tribune: (yeah yeah, I quoted the whole article...)
Pop the cork: New home for Incredible Sulk (Sammy Sosa)
By RICK MORRISSEY
CHICAGO - If you want to know the deeper reason why Sammy Sosa no longer will be with us, it's because he loved himself to death.
You can go through coroners' reports from the past 50 years and never happen upon that particular cause of death, the one best described as "Excessive digging of self."
When a player corks his bat, as Sosa did in 2003, it's because he thinks he can get a competitive edge. But for Sosa, it was much more than that. It was that he lived for the home run, for the manliest, most individual, most American thing in all of sports. The corking was a selfish act by a man who put those home runs ahead of everything and everybody else.
When Sosa walked out during the last game of 2004, it wasn't because he was frustrated about the way the Cubs had fallen apart in the final weeks of the season_a virulent little fiction that has sprung up of late. It was because he was upset about perceived poor treatment from manager Dusty Baker. It had nothing to do with the concept of team.
The Cubs are trading a future Hall of Famer with some game left in him to the Baltimore Orioles for exchangeable-part players Jerry Hairston Jr. and two minor-leaguers. It is something that has to be done, so much so that the Cubs are willing to eat a significant portion of Sosa's contract. This is an organization that would rather chew on a bar of Irish Spring than eat part of a contract.
For veteran Cubs observers, there are no qualifiers to this trade. You're either in or you're out. You're either a Sosa fan or you're not. For those of us who believe the Cubs absolutely are doing the right thing, there will be no turning back and no bellyaching come September.
The success of the trade does not depend on how Sosa plays for the Orioles this season. If he hits 50 home runs, it will not mean the Cubs made a mistake. The success of the trade will be that it was made. The success of the trade will not be gauged by whom the Cubs get in return for Sosa. They could get the next Mickey Mantle or the next Mickey Rooney, and it won't matter. The success of the trade will be that it was made.
Doesn't matter if the Cubs finish a game out of the playoffs. Doesn't matter if they miss the playoffs because of a lack of power.
Moving Sosa is the right thing now and forever. He walked out on his teammates. End of story.
What are the Cubs going to do for a right fielder? That's the wrong question. It should be: What should the Cubs have done about it a month ago? They should have signed Houston free agent Carlos Beltran, who went to the Mets. They should have been proactive instead of inactive.
Now they either will have to get involved in the sweepstakes for the risky Magglio Ordonez, who wants more years on a contract than the Cubs might be willing to give, or sign the well-traveled Jeromy Burnitz. It looks bleak.
But not as bleak as another season with Sosa, who had turned into such a problem last year that an unidentified player took a bat to Sosa's boom box and went deep. It seems like a silly, insignificant thing, but Sosa had taken control of the team's music selection in the clubhouse, a privilege traditionally reserved for each game's starting pitcher. If Whitney Houston is your idea of adrenaline-releasing music, then Sosa was the deejay for you.
The boom box stood for all things Sammy, the essence of the man. It was his team, his clubhouse, his music. In Sosa's mind, those were some of the rewards of being a superstar. It was a long way from the fun-loving image he tried to project in public.
Still, that it came to this is one of the strangest and saddest stories in Chicago sports history. And it happened because Sosa turned out to be his own best friend and his own worst enemy. A killer combination.
He was supposed to end his career here. He was meant for that. This is a man who hit 66 home runs in 1998 and, along with St. Louis' Mark McGwire, helped save a game that was sinking from the 1994 strike. To alienate Cubs fans is a very difficult thing to do, but Sosa managed to pull it off. That's more amazing than anything the Amazing Mets did in 1969.
When it was good, when the relationship between Sosa and this town was at its best, he was the ultimate showman. When he sprinted out of the dugout to start each game, it was as if a fighter jet were roaring over Wrigley Field. It could take your breath away.
He morphed into something of a circus act, a cute-and-cuddly, kiss-blowing power hitter. By degrees, it became apparent that, even though he played hard, Sammy was for whatever was best for Sammy. That didn't make him different than other athletes, but he started wearing his sense of entitlement like a crown. It went over in Chicago about as well as winter does.
There were all those home runs, yes, but the rest of it_the strikeouts, the complaints, the self-centeredness_took too much effort for teammates, fans and Baker. (For a player, not being able to get along with Baker is like not being able to get along with a masseuse.) Mostly, Sosa just wore us all out.
We're beyond the loving tributes. They were written and spoken when Sosa was hitting all those home runs and keeping the game of baseball alive. That was before the corked bat, the petulant walkout and the ever-changing body. If you want to cite this is as the perfect example of the build-up and tear down of a superstar, be our guest. But the fact of this sad matter is that he did it to himself.
Goodbye, Sammy. We really knew ye.