Maybe Sosa shouldn't be so calm

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After spending the last six months or so sitting around waiting for his phone to ring, Sammy Sosa is finally ready to call it quits.

He’ll walk away with quite a resume:
609 home runs (sixth all-time), three seasons with more than 60 home
runs, seven All-Star appearances, one MVP award. Clearly, Hall of Fame
numbers.

He’ll also carry with him, however, the stigma of steroid abuse.
None of it concrete or proven, mind you, but a large enough pile of
circumstantial evidence to raise plenty of suspicions.

In comments made Wednesday to ESPN, Sosa was already engaged in a
preemptive attack on anyone who would doubt his candidacy for
Cooperstown.

“Everything I achieved, I did it thanks to my perseverance, which is
why I never had any long, difficult moments [as a baseball player]. If
you have a bad day in baseball, and start thinking about it, you will
have ten more.

“I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don’t I have the numbers to be inducted?”

It’s an odd turn of phrase, and likely little more than bluster. Anyone
who would “calmly” wait out such an honor would not feel the need to
announce it to the world. Sammy Sosa is going on the offensive, while
sounding quite defensive about it.

In a thoughtful column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chris De Luca takes Sosa to task. He has some questions for Sosa that he’d like answered.

Why, De Luca asks, didn’t Sosa meet with Sen. George Mitchell?

Why would Jose Canseco – who has been proven correct on a number of steroid issues – say that the physical changes in Sosa’s body clearly point to use of performance-enhancers?

Why, given the chance to confront the allegations, would Sosa take a pass?

While Sosa is calmly waiting for his induction to the Hall of Fame
— he can expect some anxious moments — he better either keep his
mouth shut on the subject of steroids or be willing to take the
allegations against him head-on.

So is Sosa a Hall of Famer? If it were solely up to the numbers, the question would be ridiculous. First ballot, no problem.

But as Mark McGwire has found out, it’s not going to be that easy. When
Sosa’s name comes up on the ballot in five years, voters will be faced
with these two questions:

1. Do you believe Sammy Sosa took performance-enhancing drugs?
2. Does it matter?

In the next five years, more information could come forth either
damning or absolving Sosa on the first question. It’s unlikely, but
possible.

So it will probably come down to the second question. Does it matter? Keep in mind, voters are asked to consider character.

Voting — Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

So far, based on the actions of Hall of Famer voters, it does indeed
matter. Unless Sosa comes up with a good explanation, he would be
advised to not sit and wait so calmly.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.