Sosa buries baseball in avalanche of non-surprise

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Judging by reaction around baseball, Sammy Sosa testing positive for steroids
(just a report at this point, mind you) is akin to saying the Yankees
have a big payroll. Is anyone surprised? Ummm … that would be a big fat
no.

In fact, surprise was the word of the day. A sampling …

  • Lance Berkman is not at all surprised:
    “That’s not that surprising at all. There are just certain guys that
    you pretty much know without coming out and making an out and out
    accusation, but it does not surprise me, not even a little bit.”

  • Don’t even try to throw a surprise party for Aramis Ramirez:
    “Nothing surprises me anymore. Everybody talked about it, but I played
    with him for two years here and I never saw him do anything wrong.”

  • Joe Torre is surprised when his own player gets caught, but not
    by anyone else: “As far as being surprised, I was surprised with Manny.
    And after that, I mean, how can you be surprised anymore? After Manny,
    how can you be surprised?”

  • Lou Piniella is surprised you would even ask him about it:
    “I don’t know that much about it. Maybe if managers had been trained a
    little more in these areas, I could answer better, but I don’t know. I
    wouldn’t know a steroid from a reefer.”

  • After dealing with A-Rod and now Sosa, Rangers GM Jon Daniels seems to wish he could be surprised:
    “But it’s the same reaction as I had with Alex [Rodriguez]. You hope
    it’s not true. But, unfortunately, nothing would surprise all of us at
    this point.”

  • Don Mattingly hopes these non-surprise surprises are going to soon come to an end:
    “I don’t think it surprises anybody any more. I think it’s good that
    we’ve got a policy in place. … “Obviously, there’s a lot of guys. I’d
    just go ahead — if there’s 103 guys, let’s get ’em all out. We’ll know
    who’s who and go from there. We’ll get it over with.”

  • White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone is surprised that Sosa drew attention to himself:
    “I’m kind of surprised that he came out for an official retirement,
    because sometimes when you do that and make a comment as he made, it
    has ramifications that you can’t foresee and in this case, these are
    some of the ramifications.”

  • And perhaps most surprising is the reaction of Angels reliever Darren Oliver:
    “Better him than me. He’s the one who has to deal with it. It seems
    like if you are caught with this, you can kiss the Hall of Fame
    goodbye.”

    You want a surprise? Oliver might now have a better chance than Sosa
    at the Hall of Fame. I don’t think anyone would have expected something
    like that.

  • Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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    Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

    [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

    Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

    He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

    Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

    Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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    Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

    For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

    So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

    The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

    I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

    Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

    But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.