What they're saying about Sammy Sosa

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Let’s take a quick stroll around the blogosphere to see how others are reacting to the Sosa news:

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse: I
hated the punk BEFORE he even joined the Cubs. I hated him when the
White Sox’ GM, Larry Himes (yep, HIM) traded Harold Baines, a friggin’
Sox icon, to Texas for the sideshow fraud. He came up and became a
free-swinging whiff machine. Sure, he had speed and power, a strong
arm, and obvious filling out to do. Physically, Sosa was a specimen.
But his arrogance rubbed his teammates wrong from Day one . . . I’ve
known he was a fraud for nearly 20 years, and if the damn corked bat
wasn’t enough to convince you, the truth is now out here.

Bugs & Cranks: It’s
expected because Sosa’s career progression and statistics smack of
performance enhancing drugs; there’s such a dramatic spike in his power
later in his career it almost moronic no one though to question Sosa at
the time. Sosa’s halfhearted denials and severe drop in performance
after baseball began drug testing only amplified the expectation that
his superstar turn was aided by the juice.

Deadspin: The
real outrage here, as it was with A-Rod, is not who’s on the list but
who’s doing the leaking, a story that for obvious reasons The New York
Times will not be writing. You’ll remember that those tests results
were supposed to be confidential — a perfectly reasonable expectation
of any employee who submits to a drug test — yet now they’re
trickling into public view, merely because somebody wants to remind you
to care deeply about steroids in baseball again.

Bleed Cubbie Blue: We now know, presuming the report on Sosa is true, that the joy [of the 1998 home run race] was
indeed stolen from us. The numbers put up were put up by cartoon
figures, not baseball players as we had known them for decades earlier.
I know, I know, amphetamines in the 50s and 60s, other PEDs, other ways
of cheating, ad nauseum . . . we were sold a bill of goods. They all
swore up and down that they were honest — “Flintstone vitamins,” Sammy
told us with a straight face. Now we know that face was lying to us,
presuming the report is true.

Cant’ Stop the Bleeding: The
obvious attempt to demoralize the Cubs on the eve of this year’s North
Side/South Side Chicago Civil War Reenactment fools no one, Mr. Obama.
It smacks of Cub fan Rod Blagoevich’s fall from the grace as you
ascended to the White House. A cheap shot, SIR, and I hope Bobby Jenks
gets bitten by a clubhouse rat tonight and Ozzie gets hit on the head
by falling concrete in the Wrigley media room.

Baseball Prospectus: I’ve
always followed the steroid story as something of an epidemic. It often
follows the same models, centering around hubs and nodes. The hubs are
players like Jose Canseco or Bill Romanowski in the NFL who were
evangelists for the substances, but the nodes are usually the drug
distributors. The Bay Area had BALCO, Baltimore had their “star”, and
Dallas had their Hollywood connection, while the NFL had doctors in
Pittsburgh and Charlotte, among others, who were willing to supply.
Chicago, however, doesn’t have this issue or at least hasn’t. Looking
at the Cubs roster in 2003 and a year previous, there’s *no one* that
tested positive or that has even had much speculation surrounding their
production. It will be interesting to see if the 2003 list shows such a
cluster existed or if Sosa was one of few singular users.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.

Video: Aaron Judge sends a baseball into the upper deck at Citi Field

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.

The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.