Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So long, Sammy

With the Crosstown Classic opener rained out Tuesday night, Cubs fans didn't have much to do but mull the news that Sammy Sosa had tested positive for steroids in 2003--the same year A-Rod did--as part of the supposedly anonymous testing done that year.

A lot of people had supported Sosa's previous claims that he hadn't taken steroids, because there was nothing to suggest that he had, other than the massively-ripped physique that he acquired over the years--oh, wait... Still, while it's hard to think about what baseball was like before the last few years of steroids, there was a time when it really did seem like Sosa and others were getting bigger through lifting and working out, something that a lot of ballplayers never embraced. I always wished that Mark Grace, as good as he was, would have pressed himself a bit more to work out to acquire a little more power, endurance and speed. But, he was a great, pure hitter who never wore batting gloves and could be seen smoking while out on the town.

Sosa gave us a lot of great times and excitement over the years. Would we give it all back? It would be hard, even knowing he was on drugs at least one of those years. He helped bring the Cubs to the brink of the World Series in 2003, though it was certainly not his best year. Now we have to ask ourselves what would have been had he remained the somewhat skinny, speedy outfielder with above-average--if not Hall of Fame power--that we saw when he arrived at Wrigley. Would he have been still a great power hitter? Would have have stolen many more bases? Would 1998 have been so much fun? These are questions we can't answer.

What's clear is that Sosa won't be going to the Hall of Fame, and probably caused the news leak of his steroid test to happen when he said recently he was expecting that call. Unless their is a great mass confessional from everyone who used steriods in recent years, that call will never come.

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