Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Must Read: Sammy Sosa Persona Non Grata In Chicago

Shane Tritsch of ChicagoMag.com has written a piece called Sammy Sosa: Cubs 'Threw Me into the Fire.

With the steroid era about to claim another player in Roger Clemens, this article is a must read. It details how the once beloved Sosa is no longer welcome in Chicago.

Here's a quick excerpt: 
Today, Sosa is a stranger in the city whose affection he once owned. He has not been welcomed back to Wrigley Field to throw out the first pitch or guest-conduct the seventh-inning rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” In 2007, the team handed out his jersey number to another player (pitcher Jason Marquis), signaling that it had no plans to retire it in Sosa’s honor. And last year, when Sosa asked the Cubs if he could announce his retirement at Wrigley Field—his “house,” as he used to call it—the team rejected him.

As the baseball broadcaster Steve Stone puts it, the greatest Cubs slugger in history “now is persona non grata in the entire city."

Sosa’s transformation from Chicago icon to pariah has a lot to do with the controversies that tarnished his image: his use of a corked bat in 2003; his walkout during the last game of the 2004 season; and his years of self-indulgent behavior, which exasperated teammates and management. Any discussion of Sosa’s perceived failings must also, of course, include the elephant in the locker room: the suspicion that steroids helped fuel his career total of 609 home runs, the sixth highest in major-league history. “I don’t think he felt any constraints,” says Rick Telander, the Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist. “In fact, it’s a leap to think he didn’t take any steroids.”

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