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The Unbearable Lightness of Cork

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sammy Sosa, homerun hitter for the Chicago Cubs, was ejected from a game last night when it was found that a bat he was using had cork in it. (Generally, a wood bat is "doctored" in such a way that wood is hollowed out from the end (barrel) of the bat and replaced by cork, which is then sealed over by a wood "cap.") The bat will appear normal (legal) except that the inner material in the barrel is cork, not wood. Cork is lighter and allows for greater bat speed when the hitter swings the bat, making for harder hit (farther traveling) baseballs.

It's cheating. A player or two have been caught in recent years and suspended a few games. A power-hitter for the Cleveland Indians a few years ago went so far as to get a teammate to use the crawlspace above rooms in Yankee Stadium to get into the umpires' locker area so as to steal back a bat they'd confiscated from this player for purposes of further inspection and turning over to the commissioner's office.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, epecially given Sosa's popularity with the fans, and the persona he's actively created. Last night he said it was a mistake, that he'd used a bat normally intended for use only in batting practice. He said it's to give the fans at batting practice a show. He apologized and said now he has to move on.

Right. Just brush this aside like a mosquito.
Sosa has understandably become very comfortable with his celebrity and on an occassion or two he's gotten testy when that particular space has been invaded by reporters' questions about such things as steroid use. He's going to get more questions now; I'm curious to see how he deals with this.

I saw a few of his at-bats last weekend. He's recently off the disabled list. At one point, in his first nine at-bats since returning, he struck out eight times. And the pitchers were like sharks, sensing something wrong and going after him, fastball after fastball after fastball, throwing it by him. He looked overmatched.
I'm wondering if that didn't hurry a move to a bat with all the pop but less weight to get through the hitting zone. I'm wondering if Sammy didn't panic.

I do know he cheated. And got caught.

see #4 for more cork

[ June 04, 2003, 07:51 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #2 of 8
Minimum 7 game suspension should at least happen. I hope they make him ride the pines for the rest of the season if he gets caught again.

[ June 04, 2003, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: Lucky ]
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've always found interesting how players, in today's games of HUGE money, learn fairly quickly how good public relations and media-awareness and a quick tv-friendly smile can equate to even more money in endorsements and possible post-career opportunities.
Thing that makes it interesting is the actual behavior of a considerable portion of professional athletes, particularly in baseball, football, basketball and now, just as much, hockey, soccer and golf. No shortage of non-saints kicking and swatting balls and pucks around.
Thus my curiosity about this particular incident. Thus far, Sosa's batting has spoken for him and, as he is a baseball player, that's fine; one can't really ask for much more. Now, though, there's a twist. Superman's been caught mid-change in the telephone booth resembling something much closer to Clark Kent.
Sosa knows media by now but he hasn't the command of the language nor the experience of tidal change in how his persona is viewed. He'll be hard-pressed to "smoothe" his way beyond this. It'll be interesting to see the strategy he ("his people") comes up with as damage control.

Anyone ever read Bouton's "Ball Four," the first tell-all, chronicling his time with the New York Yankees? When the tales about "heroes" such as whitey ford and mickey mantle and much of baseball carousing and partying came out, Bouton was suddenly very unpopular in the VERY insular world of players for exposing the "morning after" face of the game.

[ June 04, 2003, 09:11 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #4 of 8
The big trend today is Sammy & Martha articles entwining the downfall of both in one story. Isn't that enough punishment for Sammy?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Martha never had to face Schilling on a 35-degree day in Wrigley, with the wind howling in and a fleetingly blinding sun-to-shadow effect midway between home plate and the mound, with Schilling's heater riding in at about 95 on your fists and the splitter dropping in at your knees at about 87. Talk about a tough assignment.
And then to remove the cork?

Then again, can he bake a cherry pie?

[ June 06, 2003, 09:59 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #6 of 8
Can he make a cherry pie,
Sammy Boy, Sammy Boy?
Can he make a cherry pie,
Charming Sammy?
He can make a cherry pie,
Quick as a cat can wink an eye,
He's a young thing
And cannot leave his mother.

[ June 07, 2003, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: Little Billy ]
post #7 of 8
They ought to make him spend time with Martha, he would probably never cork another bat.
post #8 of 8
anybody else notice that sammy has appeared to have lost 15-20 lbs. and his skin has cleared up?
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