By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) It wasn’t Sammy’s party, but he’ll still cry if he wants to.
“I should have been there; I would have liked to have been there,” one-time Chicago Cubs icon Sammy Sosa told ESPN Deportes on Thursday after his invitation to Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday celebration was lost in the mail, or translation, or Congress, or something. “The Cubs know where to find me, and I hope to have the chance to clear up any misunderstanding.”
Once the darling of Wrigleyville, Sosa has been a pariah at the Friendly Confines ever since he walked out on his team during the Cubs’ finale in 2004, leaving bad feelings and a busted boom box in his wake.
Neither has been fixed in the decade since.
Last October, during an interview with WGN-AM’s David Kaplan, Sosa pleaded his case for being welcomed back into the Cubs’ fold when he said, “First of all, a lot of miscommunication and a few things that happened before. That’s why we haven’t got a great relationship with the organization. But I’m looking forward to one day, you walk in Wrigley Field and see my statue, see my flag.”
We’re more likely to see a World Series trophy at Wrigley this season than we are to see a Sosa statue or a No. 21 flag anytime soon, but with Sammy again expressing his desire for forgiveness from the Cubs and his one-time adoring fans, the question is remains: Should it be granted?
After all, they say that to err is human; to forgive divine.
But when it comes to Sosa, you know what would be even holier?
“It’s been 10 years since I played my last game with the Cubs,” Sosa said in lamenting his latest Wrigley snub. “That’s a lot of time to not have had a conversation about this.”
What I’d like to know is exactly what Sosa means by “this” and what “misunderstanding” it is he wants to clear up. Because the only way that I would even want to consider the idea of Sammy Sosa being allowed back at Wrigley Field without a ticket is if he finally comes clean about his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs.
On that topic, I don’t think there are any misunderstandings with Sosa, but rather misdirection as he’s refused to ever address the issue head on and with honesty. That’s even after the New York Times reported in 2009 that, according to unnamed sources with access to sealed court documents, Sosa was one of 104 players who had tested positive for PEDs in 2003 when Major League Baseball conducted a survey to gauge the extent to which steroids had infested the game.
Sosa, however, doesn’t like to talk about such things. But if he ever does want to make amends in Chicago and have a shot at forgiveness, he’s going to need to do so. Because, according to the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, that confession is apparently what the Cubs are waiting for before welcoming him back.
“We can’t pretend that he doesn’t exist, but it’s awkward,” Tom Ricketts said on Thursday through a spokesman, speaking as honestly about a Cubs-related topic as he has all year.
With Sosa, maybe it always will be awkward. I’m not sure that the majority of fans really want to welcome him back. I’m personally not particularly eager to do so. But the only chance for any future heart taps and kisses is if Sammy Sosa finally steps up to the plate and takes his PED hits, rather than the cuts he was so accustomed to.
Otherwise, he’s just going to keep striking out.