I say that not because I am (was?) a huge Sammy Sosa fan. Sure, his dual with Mark McGwire in 1998 was unreal (actually, I guess it was), and when he tied up Game 1 of the 2003 LCS against the Florida Marlins in the 9th inning, I’m not too proud to admit I teared up. Oh, and then fully released the tears when the Cubs went on to lose the game and the series.
I say oh crap because until now, we Chicago Cubs fans could blissfully rest on the belief that we had not cheered for – indeed, pinned our fandom on – a proven user.
Sure, Sammy corked his bat. Sure, he was a selfish boom-boxer. And sure, he blew up like a ferocious watermelon on, well, steroids. But it was never proven that he used, and we liked to live in a fantasy world where maybe, just maybe, when we saw Sammy hit that magical 60th home run in 1998, Sammy’s power – like our feelings – was real.
Crap. Sammy tested positive for steroids in 2003.
There it is. Now we accept it, reflect upon how it changes our collective history, and move on. Maybe it doesn’t change much – as I said, we all already knew it. But now, it is a fact. There’s no unringing this bell, and like the shattering of a bat filled with cork, this transgression takes us all down just a little.
As for what it does to Sammy’s future, well, it ain’t good.
In a recent interview with ESPN Deportes, Sosa, 40, said he would “calmly wait” for his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame, for which he will become eligible in 2013. But his 2003 positive test, when he played for the Chicago Cubs, may seriously damage his chances of gaining entry to the Hall, a fate encountered by McGwire, who has attracted relatively little support from voters in his first three years on the ballot.
The 2003 positive test could also create legal troubles for Sosa because he testified under oath before Congress at a public hearing in 2005 that he had “never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”
The 2003 test that ensnared Sosa was the first such test conducted by Major League Baseball. Under guidelines agreed upon with the players union, the test results were to remain anonymous but would lead to testing with penalties the next year if more than 5 percent of the results were positive. NYTimes.com.
So now will Sammy Sosa do a post-confession like Alex Rodriguez before him? Or will he do a I-kind-of-did-it-but-not-really-because-I-didn’t-know bs kind of confession? Or will he plead the Spanish?
Whatever happens – this sucks, friends. So many of my favorite Chicago Cubs memories rode on the back of number 21. And now we know for sure that he wasn’t carrying them alone.