Friday, June 19, 2009

Slammin' Sammy

Wednesday I read some rather alarming news. I was really shocked to find out that Sammy Sosa was on the list of over 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.

Give me a break; who didn’t know this? I was actually shocked when they found his corked bat; I guess that he had to make up for the discontinued use of steroids somehow.

Then yesterday the Chicago Tribune polled their sports writers (the ones that are eligible to vote on the Hall of Fame ballot) to see if they would vote for Sammy. There was one yes, one undecided, and the rest basically said hell no. I wasn’t surprised. I read these writers online on a regular basis. Most of them don’t really cover the sport as I think that it should be covered. If I want to read opinions I go to the Op-Ed page not the Sports section.

Also most these Baseball writers are not as knowledgeable as some of the broadcasters; such as Steve Stone, Bob Uecker and Peter Gammons. In fact, I as well as some of my friends know the game better than the writers do (of course we are much older and have followed baseball for a much longer time). Sometimes when reading their columns I chuckle and just shake my head.

Should Sammy be kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame? I think not.

I never was a big Sosa fan; in fact I was upset when the Cubs traded George Bell (a fellow Dominican) to the White Sox for him in 1992. Sosa was then hitting in the low .200’s with no “Pop and Hop” and was a satisfactory outfielder at best. Steve Stone was broadcasting for the Cubs on WGN back then and he held the same opinion (of Sosa and the trade) as I did. Great baseball minds think alike.

The Sammy started to play on a regular basis and his numbers went up. The Cubs Fans started to like him, more and more.

Then in 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire (St. Louis Cardinals) battled it out to see who would beat Roger Maris’ Home Run record (61). Everywhere that they (Cardinals and Cubs) played the attendance records would skyrocket. WGN (a Tribune Company) broadcast all of the Cubs games and I’m sure that they raised the cost of an advertising minute during these broadcast. The Cubs and Sammy Sosa were being seen across the nation on almost a daily basis.

People that would not normally watch these games were now watching. It was bringing excitement back to Major League Baseball and building a broader overall fan base. It essentially rejuvenated baseball.

The fact that both McGwire and Sosa were more than likely using performance enhancing drugs was mentioned, but not really an issue at the time (I knew it, the Sports Writers knew it, and MLB knew it). It’s the same case with Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s career Home Run record. In all three instances, the fan base and attendance increased. Is this bad for Baseball?

The same Nanzy-Panzy Sports Writers that had previously lauded all three of the aforementioned players are now condemning them.

Is the using of performance enhancing drugs good for Baseball? Definitely not! Should their use of these drugs keep the users out of the Baseball Hall of Fame? Definitely not! These players created a lot of new Baseball fans and brought back some old fans. Their records are tarnished, but they still are on the books.

The Beach Bum

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Blogger AndyK said...

If "everybody" was using them, then it wasn't "unfair" to use them. We say we don't want athletes to use these drugs because of bad side effects. But Pete Ward or Mickey Mantle were loaded with cortisone without a second thought. And what about all the booze and cigars the Babe ingested - not exactly a healthy diet.

Fri Jun 19, 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Talking about ball players and drugs, check out who sits in with Tito Puente. Hint: Seven time all star, got busted for Marijuana

He shows up later in the video.

The music is terrific, Choco Orta is hot!

Mon Jun 22, 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

I agree that Sammy belongs in the Hall, along with McGwire and all the others. Put asterisks on the plaques if that's what it will take to get it done...

Of course, I think Pete Rose belongs in the Hall, too, because it's what goes on between the lines that counts, not what happens off the field.

Tue Jun 23, 06:53:00 PM  
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