It's Freakout Time, Version 3038320
Another famous, supposedly "good guy" baseball player has been busted for steroids.
Yep, this time it's Sammy Sosa which should come as a surprise to just about nobody who has ever paid attention to the game. In fact, when folks started pointing fingers at Barry Bonds, talking about the remarkable transformation his body and game had made, I was confused as to why NOBODY wanted to point out the same thing about Sosa.
A discussion on this, why and if it should matter, and a truly disturbing photo of Mr. Sosa follows the jump.
If you've read a whit of this blog, you should know that I find the steroids story completely boring. It's no longer really a story as much as it is a continuing conversation. Moreso, as a Giants fan, I'm still ticked that there was so much of an overt attempt to paint Bonds as "the bad apple" of steroids when it was painfully obvious that this was a huge widespread problems.
The two guys I thought avoided any scrutiny but deserved it? Roger Clemens and Sosa. Clemens has literally had his day in court, and I am quite happy about that. Now, it's Sammy's time.
Let's take a look at his early career, shall we?
Sosa first hit 33 HR with the White Sox and Cubs ... in THREE SEASONS. At the same time, he stole 60 bases. (This was from 1990-1992.) Sosa was, at the time, a speed guy with a little bit of pop.
He then developed more power - which in and of itself is neither aberrant or cause for suspicion. He turned into a guy who generally hit about 30-35 HR, once notching 40 in a season. Dude was a power hitter for sure.
And then...kaboom. From 1998 - 2001, he hit 66, 63, 49 and 64 HR and I'm frankly suprised he didn't ever hit the field with a syringe stuck in his ass. When folks pointed fingers at Bonds for an abnormal leap in power, it seemed VERY suprising that nobody wanted to talk about Sosa. When his power started sapping in 2004, he got caught using a corked bat - and still, everyone wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Can anyone reasonably pretend Bonds would have gotten the same break? Of course not.
Why? Because Sosa was great with the fans, and more importantly, great with the PRESS.
It's true in politics, it's true in sports - it's a massive failure of our media. If they believe something to be true - whether Sammy Sosa is "a good guy" and Bonds an evil one, or John McCain is a "maverick" and Barack Obama is "out of touch" - or, should you prefer, that Obama is godlike and Republicans are all evil - that's the story. You have to be able to read between the lines and make decisions for yourselves.
It's never a GOOD day when you realize that somewhere, a kid's hero has become yet another poster child for cheating. But them's the facts. And more and more, folks will realize that history will prove that those who weren't willing to sacrifice their bodies for statistics and the subsequent paychecks were the exception, not the rule. Pointing fingers at any one player with the hopes that they'll be the end of the story is a fool's errand.
What's more - check out THIS picture and realize just how truly icky Sosa has gotten in later years. Wow. Maybe there are steroids in his hair gel?