Fair Or Not Cheaters Aren’t Allowed

It seems the topic of the big name juicers making the hall of fame and one of them being allowed at Wrigley Field comes up every year during spring training. A few weeks Clemens, Schilling, Bonds and the so far (in this article at least) nameless juicer all fell off the ballot for the Hall of Fame meaning they will be on the Veterans ballot

Of course the one I am referring to is the great Slamin’ Sammy. Did he juice? Yes. So did Bonds, McGwire, Clemens and many other players during that era. It is believed by many that Ricketts won’t let Sammy back into the family because he juiced. Sadly, I think it has more to do with the corked back than the juicing.

Was his exit from Chicago handled poorly by then General Manager Jim Hendry? Absolutely without a question! From a fans perspective here’s why it was mishandled and why the Ricketts family should let bygones be bygones.

Let me start by saying cheating is cheating and breaking rules is breaking rules. Did Sosa ever admit to using ‘roids? No, but he also never had to because he never tested positive. After the league started getting serious about the testing during the 2003 season he never tested positive. It was as a result of the testing that he turned to corking his bats.

While that is cheating he served his time when the suspension was handed down and since retiring has come clean saying he corked the bat. Even though one report in 2009 did say that Sosa tested positive for ‘roids during his career the only suspension he ever served was for using the corked bat. Therefore, he did not test positive.

Does that mean he was not juicing it up before the drug use policy was agreed on in the collective bargaining agreement on August 30, 2002? Absolutely not. In fact, I strongly believe based on the trajectory of his career that was was juicing after the player strike in the 1990s.

The impasse that is keeping Sosa out was caused long before the Ricketts family bought the team when Cubs management outed Sosa through the media before trading him during the 2004-2005 off season. Every time the topic comes up when the media is interviewing Tom he says something to the effect of “Sosa still has to come clean and apologize.”

I think what Tom is saying without actually saying it is that Sosa was juicing when he played and they do not want cheaters around the organization. Sosa has apologized through the media a few different times in the last few years. It seems that the impasse will never go away because clearly Tom is ignoring all of these apologies.

Sosa and the home run race of 1998 are the biggest reasons I fell in love with baseball. I will always love the memories of him smoking the ball out onto Waveland and Addison.

If you cannot play with them, root for them!

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