View Full Version : The Moron column count '02: Flubs 10, Sox 2

04-08-2002, 09:16 AM

Now I get to write a fluff piece about my love object. I love my job.


I give this one a 4 for its positive pointlessness.

5=Extremely positive
3=equal parts positive and negative
1=extremely negative

That makes the totals (columns/points/average points):

Flubs 10/37/3.7
Sox 2/7/3.5


Sammy speaks his mind

April 7, 2002


Sure, he notices. As a nightly devotee of TV highlight shows, Sammy Sosa sits in his lakefront condo and sees the fuss about Barry Bonds. It isn't an easy role, playing the forgotten man and watching Bonds dominate headlines while he deals with a stumbling, impotent Cubs team mired in rooftop politics and stung by boos.

But Saturday, he made a promise. Even though the Cubs have dropped four of their first five games against marginal opposition, even though Bonds threatens to render him irrelevant in a home-run duel still spiced with hard feelings, Sosa smiled and shook his head when he was asked whether 2002, once again, will be the Year of Bonds.

''No matter what he does now, at the end of the year, I will be right there--and so will this team,'' Sosa said. ''It's the same thing every year. I go through some slow periods, some ups and downs, but then I am right there at the end. Barry can do his thing. Don't worry about me. And don't worry about this team.''

Unlike his competition with Mark Mc-Gwire, which was friendly and respectful, Sosa makes it clear that he and Bonds won't be exchanging heart taps anytime soon. While they have talked since their spring-training crossfire in Arizona, Sosa still is stung by Bonds' criticism that he was ''running his mouth'' when Sosa told reporters about their outfield conversation in Mesa. During the chat, Sosa said Bonds urged him to break his record of 73 home runs. Bonds disagreed with Sosa's interpretation, prompting an angry Sosa to suggest that some of Bonds' teammates might be right about him being a bad guy. The subject had been moot for weeks--until Saturday, when Sosa recounted it by his locker after an unsightly 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We talked in the outfield. He said what he said. I told [reporters] about it, and Barry said I was running my mouth. I did not like that, and I said so,'' Sosa said. ''I didn't take kindly to what he said. I still don't know why he did that.''

Not exactly the same warm, fuzzy scene Sosa and McGwire shared in 1998. I mentioned this to Sosa. ''Hey, Mark was No. 1,'' he said, pounding his chest for emphasis. ''I don't have to tell anyone that. Mark was No. 1.''

Right now, the baseball world might beg to differ. If reaction to his record-busting season was moderate at best and occasionally tepid, Bonds has struck a nationwide chord with five homers in the San Francisco Giants' first four games. Suddenly, we wonder whether Bonds might break his own single-season record as he steadily climbs toward No. 600, which will put him 155 short of Henry Aaron's all-time record. It is hard to push Sosa, one of the leading ambassadors of the game, into the shadows. But that's what Bonds has done in the first week, even though Sosa has hit three homers and could erase the margin on a single windy afternoon. On Saturday, Bonds preserved another Giants victory with a sliding catch with the bases loaded. He has grabbed the spotlight Sosa thrives on.

''Surprised?'' Bonds said. ''Shocked is more like it. I'm as shocked as anybody.''

Even Ernie Banks, the world's leading Sosa fan, is in awe of Bonds. After appearing at a ceremony honoring Bonds on Friday, Mr. Cub gushed, ''Ted Williams had a great swing, but this kid, he is so powerful, the ball just goes off his bat. The sound of it is so different. It's a loud sound. He's just remarkable. Gosh, what a player. If they had pitched to him last year, he might have hit 90 home runs. What a player.''

Sosa, too, is amazed by Bonds. ''I can't believe the first week he's had. They don't always pitch to him, but when they do, he [takes] advantage,'' he said. ''It's hard to believe he can just turn it right on. But he does, and I tip my hat to him.''

Bonds and the Giants will be at Wrigley Field on April 23-25. Every Bonds-Sosa meeting will be treated as a national event, stoked by the spring flareup and a distant goal perhaps reachable for both--Aaron's all-time mark. ''Whatever people want to make of it, that's fine,'' Sosa said. ''I will be ready.''

By then, maybe the Cubs will have wiggled out of their fine mess--on the field and off. It's hard to tell whether the biggest slackers are in uniforms or corporate suits. The clubhouse theme Saturday was cold weather. The poor, handsomely paid ballplayers are freezing their butts off. ''Some of the guys aren't used to Chicago yet,'' Sosa said. One such player is Fred McGriff, who makes millions to play in all conditions but is performing like he's looking for a space heater.

''It's cold,'' Corey Patterson said. ''But the other team has to play in it, too.''

Of course, the major problem isn't a lame offense. Or a lineup dotted with suspect players. Or the inability of manager Don Baylor to fire up a lifeless team. Or the organization's insistence on using Matt Clement as the No. 5 starter while Mark Prior, the wasted savior, starts today for the Class AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

No, the problem is still those danged rooftop owners.

Because they aren't budging in the fight to expand the bleachers at Wrigley Field, Tribune Co. now is blaming the rooftoppers as the reason a mighty conglomerate can't contend for championships. ''We have coexisted with them for years,'' company point man Mark McGuire said, ''but their open attempts to kill our project and reduce our ability to field a winning team is unacceptable.''

At last, we have uncovered the secret to the Cubbie hex. The reason this franchise hasn't won in 93 seasons is the rooftop guys. What malarkey. Look, 2,000 extra bleacher seats at $24 a pop times 81 games--presuming they sell out the tickets, which they won't--amounts to $3.9 million a year. Yeah, that's going to make a difference in ''fielding a winning team.'' If the Tribsters would promise to devote their bleacher revenue to the player payroll each season, I might be more sympathetic to their cause. But I don't trust the Tribsters.

Just as I didn't trust them when they nearly ran Sosa out of town about contract differences. In the end, after much consternation, they settled at four years and $72million. I'd call it a major bargain for the Cubs.

Because before you know it, they'll be hanging from the rafters, watching Sam the Man try to save a season and make more history. ''I am not one to panic,'' he said. ''I think this is going to be a great season all the way around.''

We would be foolish to doubt him.

04-08-2002, 03:30 PM
I must admit I'd never actuall read one of these till now, because i don't see these newspapers, but my Goodness, does really think that Sosa is The Lord and Savior? It's gotta be tough to be an Athiest in Chicago? I'll never read one again I promise. I was just checking to see if I agreed with the rating, but come on?

"We would be foolish to doubt him."

Call me a bloody idiot then!

04-09-2002, 12:56 AM
reading, hearing these things about the scrubs and SamME makes me sick.

You could call me crazy and a fool but i dont care, i am proud to say the sox got rid of sammy. he sucked with the sox, even tho he ended up hitting all those homers, i am so glad i dont have to root for him. This press makes me sick. i cannot express the way that stuff makes me feel inside.

yuck. these chicago press folk sure do a job, and afterwords they swallow it like a cheap whore. disgusting.