He is one of the greatest home-run hitters of all time. He is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He is also destined to wind up in the Hall of Fame. So why would Sammy Sosa cork his bat?
Sosa’s explanation that he accidentally picked up the wrong bat to hit with and that the corked bat is one he keeps for practice does not stand up to scrutiny.
Sports players are very superstitious, especially with their personal equipment.
“The player is responsible for his bats. He knows them inside and out. It’s an intimate thing, a player and his bat. He knows everything about the bat,” said Dana Noeltner, Wrigley Field’s former visiting clubhouse manager.
Regarding Sosa, he said, “I always remember him bringing his own stuff up there.”
There’s no reason for Sammy Sosa to use a corked bat in practice. Corked bats are lighter, and most players use heavier bats before games to get stronger and be able to swing game-time bats faster. He wouldn’t be doing it to hit the ball farther in batting practice for the fans because Wrigley Field has closed practices, no fans allowed.
Sandy Alderson, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations, said in his experience with the Oakland A’s, that he’d never heard of a player using a corked bat in practice.
This whole ordeal also brings in to question the rest of the home runs he has hit in his career.
“I’m sure not all 505 home runs he hit were with corked bats, but it makes you wonder how many were,” said Cincinnati Reds pitcher Danny Graves.
This discovery of Sammy Sosa’s corked bat has led to national debates about cheating in sports. What effect will this incident have on kids playing in youth baseball leagues across the country?
Sosa is a superstar and idol to many young up-and-coming baseball players. Now he has been caught cheating. Because of this event, a permanent question mark will hang over Sosa’s credibility and all of his accomplishments.
Equally disappointing has been MLB’s response to the incident. Sosa was allowed to play in the Cubs’ subsequent series against the Yankees. This decision was then followed by Wednesday’s announcement that Sosa’s suspension has been reduced from nine games to seven. MLB’s leniency stems from their desire not to undermine one of their few genuine superstars, but in ignoring the long-term credibility of baseball, they may be causing irreparable harm to America’s game.