Monday, June 16, 2003
The Sosa Thing
Working at a company that makes sports-based videogames, I get innundated with a lot of overly sports-themed news. Of recent note is the Sosa "controversy" wherein he broke a bat, and surprise, it was corked. There's been a mixed reaction to this, from fans holding up "we still believe in you!" signs to the media completely bashing him into the ground. The latter I have an issue with.
This is the guy who helped return baseball to the fore. Not that I give half a rat's ass about the sport, but hey, it is the fucking national passtime here. So we look at a guy who nearly single-handedly put people back in the stadiums when baseball needed it most (I say single-handedly because...well, what has McGuire done for you lately?), and because of one corked bat, and let me stress the word one, the media is out to crucify him.
Is he a jerk? Probably. Is he stupid for even owning a corked bat? Definitely. But he's hardly a criminal. Sure, we can look at the black-and-white of the situation and say "corked bat!" But if you look at the big picture, you might have a different opinion.
A). The Baseball Hall of Fame X-rayed its 5 bats it has on display from his near record breaking year, and the bat that gave him his 500th homer. None of them are corked.
B). Sosa claims the corked bat was used only for practice, because he is expected to hit them out of the park for the fans. It's important to note that there are no rules in baseball regarding what kinds of bats you use at practice.
C). The guest bat-boy confessed to his mother in the car on the way home that he thought that he screwed up Sammy Sosa's carreer. He explained to her how on that at bat, the one where he used the corked bat, Sammy was reaching for his bat, and the boy asked him for a picutre and autograph. Sammy stopped, turned and smiled for the picture (what a jerk!), then hurriedly reached over to his rack of bats and grabbed one.
After the bat broke, all of his bats were investigaed (and I've heard the number as high as seventy five. None of his remaining bats were found to have cork in them. We're talking about one corked bat in a collection of over 80 bats.
Statistically and journalistically speaking, if the guy who didn't need a corked bat to belt out well over 500 homers suddenly finds himself using a corked bat in a regulation game, and seems surprised by this, is it sound journalism to apply a blanket statement on him that he's some sort of cheater?
I guess if you're the media, and you need a Shocking! story, you crucify him, rather than doing a more investigative piece that focuses on finding out the truth, rather than highlighting snap-judgements.