So Sammy Sosa drinks his single-malt Macallan on the rocks? In Dubai?
Shouldn’t be surprising. He’s always tended to break the rules.
I picked up this tidbit about his drink of choice in this week’s Sports Illustrated, which put Sosa on the cover and detailed his persona non grata status with the Cubs. It’s actually kind of a personality non grata thing here in Chicago.
At issue: Sammy has failed to act contrite about mistaking PEDs for M&Ms, especially in 1998, when he and Mark McGwire were putting fannies and baseballs in the seats.
Chicago also smirked when Samela got caught with a corked bat. We love corked bats in 16-inch softball but in MLB? Really? And when he slinked out of town, a teammate smashed his obnoxious boombox to smithereens. Nuf said.
First SI told us that Sammy prefers Macallan 12. If he’s so rich, how come he doesn’t drink Macallan 18? And by the way, while I like Macallan, shoot me an email and I’ll let you in on single malts that I prefer to Macallan. Start with Edradour.
But that’s a matter of taste.
And so, apparently, are baseball’s Days of Infamy, when players like Sosa, McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens soiled baseball’s hallowed record book.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and his family supposedly would give Sosa his rightful place in Cubs lore if he would just admit something about being a bad boy. “Players of this era owe us a little bit of honesty,’’ Ricketts said in January.
The thing is, SI noted, Barry Bonds, who never fessed up, will have his number retired by the Giants in August. And guys like McGwire and Clemens have jobs in baseball even though they never apologized.
That seems to be Pete Rose’s problem, too—even though his sin was gambling. Like certain churches, Baseball seems obsessed with acts of contrition.
Here’s my take: If the cheaters want to apologize, fine. If not, that’s fine, too.
What I want to see is Baseball taking some responsibility.
By doing these two things, for starters.
1, All the phony records of Sosa, McGwire, Bonds and the rest of their ilk should be stricken. Vacated with a capital V. If MLB doesn’t know how to do this, it should call the NCAA, which is really good at vacating records. One under-the-table hero sandwich can get you Vacated in the NCAA.
2, These guys should not be on the payroll. Think about it. Mark McGwire, who did not do the right thing, is now coaching up the current generation of players. And he’s enjoying himself, SI tells us.
If you want to honor them with retired numbers and stuff, I’m not going to quibble. We worship our gangsters in America. That’s cool. Chicago was the beloved city of Al Capone until Michael Jordan removed that awkwardness.
That said, I know that baseball will never strike the phony home runs from the record book. Nor will it banish the cheaters. And I’m OK with that. I have the serenity to accept things I cannot change.
To me, 714 and 61 are still the numbers that matter. I’m a Babe Ruth and Roger Maris guy. Those are the career and single-season home-run records in my mind.
Imagine how many home runs the Babe would have hit if he hadn’t been downing massive quantities of anti-PEDS—hot dogs and beer. Or how many homers Maris would have hit if the newspaper writers hadn’t made him a traitor for stealing Mickey Mantle’s rightful—well, mantle.
I know many baseball fans who insist that the Sosa-McGwire home-run derby, even if it was fixed, was great fun and a victimless crime.
I say to them: Phooey. The Babe and Roger Maris have been denied their rightful place by cheaters. Maris’ hair fell out from stress, dagnab it.
Here’s why it’s not going to happen: Because fans don’t care. Again, no big whup. But we get what we demand.
The 1919 Black Sox were acquitted in a court of law. But they were promptly banned for life by the commissioner, Keneseaw Mountain Landis. Because fans would have revolted at watching games that were fixed.
Fixed home runs? Um, different deal.
Baseball could crack down if it wanted. We don’t need no stinkin’ apologies. We need leadership with a moral compass, prodded by fans who care about the sanctity of baseball’s hallowed record book.
But again, no worries. Not gonna happen.
Massive numbers of fans gobbled it up when Sosa hit 20 home runs in June of 1998. I smelled a rat. But the PEDs dispensers jump-started the turnstiles that had been moving sluggishly as a result of the 1994 strike.
I get it. That’s much more important than a few purists like me.
Meanwhile, Sosa continues to step in it.
“I passed Ernie Banks for most home runs in Chicago Cubs history. He has a statue and I don’t have nothing. What the F—?’’ he said in between sips of Macallan on the—WTF!—rocks.
This is a guy who doesn’t get it. We love and honor Ernie Banks because he spread joy along with hitting baseballs a long way.
Then again, why should Sosa and the other cheaters get it? The fans voted by showing up. And that’s the language the owners speak.