Chicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts was on The Game yesterday discussing a wide variety of things, and among them, was the looming presence – and absence – of former Cubs star Sammy Sosa. The Cubs’, and Cubs fans’, relationship with Sosa has been strained in his post-Cub days, partly because of the way he departed the organization (Sosa famously left early in his final game with the Cubs), partly because of the cork thing, and partly because of lingering PED allegations.
With Barry Bonds being welcomed back to the Giants, it’s time to more seriously consider the question: when is Sammy Sosa coming back into the fold?
In his radio appearance, Ricketts discussed Sosa a bit more than he has in the past, but still didn’t quite give up the good, in terms of what exactly has to happen for Sosa to come back into the fold.
“You would hope that there would be circumstances that you can entertain that discussion,” Ricketts told Dave Kaplan and David Haugh. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get there.
“I do think it’s a little weird that we just kinda take some of these guys and pretend they never existed …. I think any type of discussion along those lines will really have to balance how people feel about that, too. As you guys know, that issue brings up so many emotions with so many different people.”
You can tell there’s a lot to the story that we simply don’t know, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable if part of the hold-up is the organization wanting Sosa to be the one to do the coming back and seeking an opportunity to mend fences. I don’t know Sosa personally, but it’s not difficult to get a sense of him over the years. Some of the very things that made him an exciting player to follow – the swagger, the ego, the success – could be making it a little difficult to have a good relationship.
In the end, hopefully everyone can just get over things – whether it’s Sammy, or the fans, or the organization – and repair the relationship. Sosa remains a huge figure in Dominican baseball culture, and it would be nice if the Cubs could start leveraging that. Even last year we heard that big-time signing Eloy Jimenez was pulled toward the Cubs because of his fondness for Sosa. There is also the value in having someone like Sosa meeting with – or even working with, say, in Spring Training – young latin players who are already in the organization, and are trying to develop and adjust.
If you’ve got a potential market advantage, you do whatever it takes to put yourself in a position to use it.
And, also, for me personally, I’m ready to see Sammy back in the fold because I’m ready to let all of the bad stuff go. So many of my best Cubs memories have Sammy in them, and I want to feel like I can enjoy them again.
(The Sosa question has me wondering, by the way: when will the Cubs reunite with Carlos Zambrano? Is that ever going to be a post-playing-days match-up? Zambrano, too, left the organization under unhappy circumstances.)