sammy sosa kissIt was just a few comments, but, if you’re looking for a turning point in the Chicago Cubs/Sammy Sosa relationship, this could be it.

The Tribune’s Fred Mitchell spoke to Ernie Banks about, among other things, the Cubs’ failure to bring Sosa in for the 100th Anniversary Game at Wrigley Field on April 23. Banks told Mitchell that he hoped to see Sosa at the game, and implied that he’d like to see Sosa brought back into the Cubs family. For his part, Sosa was disappointed that he was not included, and has suggested that he might reach out to the Cubs to try and be a part of things going forward.

Although I believe that bringing Sosa in for that game would have been a mistake, given that it would have then been all about Sosa/Cubs instead of Wrigley Field, I also think it’s time to figure out a way to get Sosa back in the fold. And, when Ernie says things like this, people listen. He’s called Mr. Cub for a reason.

To be sure, even Banks’ comments contemplate that Sosa will have to do some things before he comes back to the Cubs in any formal way (including an open and honest discussion of steroids, as other players have done). But with Banks talking about Sosa being a part of Cubs events like the 100th Anniversary Game, it’s really hard to see the fissure lasting too much longer.

And, hey, if you’ll indulge me a moment of marketing-think: as you know, the Cubs are celebrating Wrigley Field’s history this year with decade-themed home stands throughout the season. It just so happens that the 1990s home stand takes place in late August, when the Cubs are likely to be out of the race, and perhaps stretching for a little excitement at the ballpark. It would also be a slightly less intense time of year to bring Sammy back.

Doesn’t that seem like the stars aligning for Sosa to be the headline act at one of those 1990s games? The decade fits, as does the timing – that gives the Cubs and Sosa almost four months to work out their differences, and get the ball rolling.

Assuming there can be a genuine repair of the relationship, I think the fans generally would be on board with this kind of approach. If you’re celebrating the 1990s at Wrigley Field, Sammy Sosa was a huge part of that. And if Ernie Banks is among the Cubs’ ambassadors that wants Sosa to return, then it should probably happen.

As I’ve said all along about Sosa: there will always be some bad feelings, but I’m ready to let them go, at least enough to welcome Sammy back with open arms. He’s still a legend in the Dominican Republic, and he’s the kind of star that you wish your organization had to talk to/relate to/show off for young Latin players.

I’m not going to pretend there was never any ugliness, but it’s been 10 years. I want to look back and remember the good stuff again. There was a hell of a lot of it.

  • clark addison

    As my old athletic director used to say, I’m with you, win or tie.

  • itzscott

    Ernie is and always has been the Will Rogers of the Cubs: “I never yet met a man that I didn’t like”.

    Consequently I don’t think Ernie’s a barometer for Sosa or the Cubs…. both of who can speak for themselves.

    I have no dog in this fight and couldn’t care one way or the other if Sosa and the Cubs decide to kiss & make up or not.

  • 70’s Cub

    Hey I can change my opinion on this matter if it’s ok w/Banks to be on the same field as Sammy. Mr. Cub has my complete respect as honorable gentleman!

  • Medicos

    Have Kerry Wood contact Sammy and offer to buy him a BOOM BOX and present to him at home plate prior to the White Sox game this week at the Friendly Confines. There would be 38,000 fans at Wrigley to see that.

    • Karl Groucho


  • http://BN Sacko

    If a fan would have been in on what was suppose to be a secret, and it was determined that Sammy hits more home runs when he takes the shot..Most of any of who ever that fan might be would say “take the shot.”

    • Funn Dave

      Speak for yourself, du.

  • Jon

    What does the purpose of the “coming clean” prerequisite serve? To placate the meatballs?

    • cms0101

      Exactly. The Cubs created that monster and then acted surprised afterward. It was dirty pool to release the parking lot video of his car leaving before the end of the game. Grace, Girardi, and company just didn’t like him. Hendry inherited him and only turned on him once he wasn’t productive anymore. So much hypocrisy, so little time… If the Blackhawks can welcome back the wife-beating idiot Bobby Hull with open arms, the Cubs should invite this guy back. He was a bright spot during a very dismal time in Cubs history, steroids or not. If they can get any leverage from him with Dominican teenagers, that’s worth fixing the relationship alone.

      • Voice of Reason

        And, one step further….

        The cubs want Sammy to apologize for something they knew about and didn’t stop?

        I will only accept the Sosa apology if the cubs apologize with Sosa during a press conference.

        The players and managers and owners were all “cheating” the fans. If they want to stop having stories printed about it and having it talked about then every one of them needs to come clean and admit everyone knew so we can all move on. Its not healthy for the game for it to keep coming up.

        • Voice of Reason

          And, for Selig to say Arod was a black eye on baseball (not sure of exact quote).

          How about looking in the mirror, Bud?

          Selig could have blown the whistle on all of this. He could have stepped in way before Bonds broke the home run record, but he didn’t. The owners and all of baseball is to blame. Bonds should be the home run king. No matter how those home runs went over the fence (under the use of steroids or coffee), they still went over the fence. Shame on you, Bud, for not protecting the integrity of the game. That’s your job!

          The sad thing is…. the players are the ones being thrown under the bus!

    • notcubbiewubbie

      amen amen amen

  • Edwin

    That June of 1998 was pretty sweet.

    • JCubs79

      Some of the fondest memories of my childhood involved watching the McGwire/Sosa home run race.

  • Bleeding Blue

    I was at a Cubs game once with a friend from England. We were watching the game and comparing baseball to Cricket. Sammy stepped up and hit one to upper deck Center field bleachers. My friend could not fathom hitting a ball that far. Quite a memory.

  • Spoda17

    I really don’t have a thought on this issue. But the current Cubs ownership and FO wasn’t here in 1998. So to keep lamenting that “they” knew it and allowed it to happen is not true. Neither is “they” created this… again, no “they” didn’t. Also, the FO knows a lot more on this then we will ever know. They obviously have gotten feedback about Sosa’s tenure in Chicago, and they have made an opinion on that feedback.

    • Brocktoon

      And for them to keep lamenting that they were “wronged” in some way when they weren’t even here is just them being petulant meatball children.

  • Funn Dave

    Every time a Sosa story comes up, people start blasting the staff of the Cubs and of MLB at the time for…what, exactly? Where is the evidence that they encouraged steroid use? Where is the evidence that they even were aware of it? Even if they were aware and did nothing to stop it, how could you expect them to turn in their players for cheating when it was happening all over baseball? It just amazes me how eager the people around here are to blame someone for everything.

    • Voice of Reason

      Ok, Funn Dave, here is the question:

      Do you truly believe that the Giants owners and coaching staff didn’t know that there was a special friend with Barry Bonds in the locker room? That special friend was giving him special treats?

      Barry Bonds was making millions and millions and millions of dollars. So was Sammy, McGwire, etc. Are you that naive to believe that the owners and managers didn’t know what was going on? If Bonds didn’t want that guy with him, do you think he would have been in the club house?????Those managers knew who every person was and is today. They have to protect their investments which are the players which make millions of bucks.

      And, even if they were aware and did nothing to stop it? Then, that makes them just as guilty as the players. Everyone from the commissioner to the owners to the coaches are just as guilty as the players.

      Get your head out of the sand.

      • Funn Dave

        My head isn’t in any sand. Nothing in your post provided any evidence that management was aware of steroid issues regarding any specific players. It’s not up to the coaches or management to be constantly on the lookout for rule-breaking; and if it were, it would cripple their relationship with the players. Being aware–and you haven’t proven that they were–and doing nothing to stop it does not make “Everyone from the commissioner to the owners to the coaches…just as guilty as the players.” The commissioner and owners and coaches didn’t condone steroid use. They didn’t inject it into their players. Moreover, say a coach did decide to turn in one of his investments worth millions of dollars. What does he do? Does he go up to the commissioner with no hard proof and say, “hey, man, I think one of my players might be taking steroids”? That would have just created unnecessary controversy and not led to anyone actually being held accountable. If staffs and coaches were aware of the abuse and did nothing to stop it, that’s a shame–but it’s even more shameful for you to hold those staffs and coaches accountable for acts that they did not commit.

        • MichiganGoat

          There is so much myth building surrounding the Sosa question right now he is in his 2nd Act where everything is bad. Now we are looking toward a 3rd Act to see if redemption will happen. Done right this could become a great story and one day ESPN do a 30 for 30 documentary.

      • gnjaxon

        Voice of Reason your logic is what kept Buck Weaver out of baseball and subsequently the Hall of Fame.

  • BD

    Only if he knocks it off with that skin treatment…

  • auggie

    I had a lot of hatred for any player that used steroids and that included Bonds, McGwire and Sosa, but as time has passed I’m beginning to feel it’s time to get over it.

    Most of my hatred of course was directed at Bonds because not only was he obviously using steroids, but also because he was allowed to wear body armor when he batted.

    By the way I did see Banks back around opening day. He was by himself and dragging this big metal case with all kind of baseball stickers on it. A few of them were those of the Kansas City Monarchs. He was in the atrium area of the Wrigley Building and appeared headed to Trump Tower.

  • fossilhippie

    Ernie always wanted to play 2, and that wasn’t going to happen and I hope his wish for Sammy coming back doesn’t happen as well. I for one am not going to retroactively enable him or anyone else who cheats at a game that I love while making those who played it honestly look bad by comparison.

    I hope you’re wasting your time Brett, for all this obsessive Sammy returning BS. I don’t understand why you want a bat-corking, steroid-taking, team quitting, bad clubhouse guy advising kids from Latin America, or anywhere else on how to play the game. Please stop with the obsessive Sammy suck up and write about the team, not someone who quit on the team.

    • MichiganGoat

      The “play two” is a great myth that was created from a single quote and embraced by all. One day Sammy could create a great myth about redemption if it gets build just right.

      • JM

        Oh goodie! We get to discuss myths again.

        I’ve heard the story behind the comment too, but since I doubt you were there, how can you be sure what really was said?

        • MichiganGoat

          Oh goodie you again don’t understand what I’m saying. He absolutely said BUT no player honestly wants to play 81 double headers it would destroy the body. Now the myth is how we use this quote to further the glory of Banks and a the concept of playing the game the right way. This is a myth we all embrace (including Banks) he is our Hercules, out demi-god and he deserves to be mythical in his greatest. Myth making is a good thing but when we trick ourselves into thinking it the reality or it literal is the truth is when we are the fools. Banks deserves to be our mythological hero it doesn’t diminish his greatness in fact it is the ultimate compliment of his greatness. But don’t be naive to not see the myth built around him, and please to learn what myth means.

      • DarthHater

        My favorite myth is the one about how Sammy was born by springing from the forehead of Zeus, full-grown and armed with a corked bat.

        • Diehardthefirst

          That Sosa fable originated from Bull Ox y Myth a Hippie

          • DarthHater

            Can somebody please help Diehard? I think he’s having a seizure!

            • MichiganGoat

              Oh but die hard is a great myth originator, without him the myth of Tidrow would never be celebrated on here.

  • Sect208Row8

    I am old enough to have seen the Santo, Banks, Williams teams but the three year Sosa 60 homers per years were alot of fun. I personally dont care about the steroids or corked bat or bad clubhouse guy. If I was hitting 60 homers a year I would blast my stereo too. Just wondering, Sosa is still the same size post baseball but Bonds is a twig. Whats up with that?

    • half_full_beer_mug

      “Just wondering, Sosa is still the same size post baseball but Bonds is a twig. Whats up with that?”

      I see that was ignored by all the haters.

  • Blackhawks1963

    SamME “Corky” Steroid is dead to MLB and dead to the Cubs. As it should be. The minority simply needs to turn the page and get on with life.

  • dwest9cubs

    Sammy Sosa was the first baseball player i loved to watch in 2003/04 when I first became a Cubs fan. Regardless of how hard, that man knew how to hit a baseball. The jump hop is still incredible and Sammy did it the best. I wish he hadn’t have cheated, but I still loved the player he was. I’d be happy if the Cubs got back together with him.

  • CUB5

    Wow, ANOTHER post on Sosa. I guess since there isn’t anything to talk about ON the field that this topic is going to dominate Cubdom.

    It would be nice to trot him out during the 90’s stretch. Then they could uncork the bats…err…champagne.

    I would rather see the Cubs embrace Bartman than Sammy. Bartman at least didn’t do anything wrong other than be a Cubs fan.

    • DarthHater

      Wow, a post on Bartman. There’s an appropriate topic for Cubdom.

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