Documentary season keeps rolling right along this Sunday with a 30-for-30 that probably should have been made about 10 years ago in Long Gone Summer: the story of the '98 homerun chase between McGwire and Sosa. For obvious reasons that don't need much emphasis, it's largely seen as one of the great sports' stories of our collective lives. Whether it "saved" baseball can be debated through bottomed-out World Series tv ratings and the beginning of a war on performance enhancers. But what can't be argued is how electric baseball was that summer, and just how badly you needed to know each and every night if Sammy or McGwire went deep. Never has there been more appointment-level regular season baseball across two organizations that finished 2nd and 3rd in their division.
The documentary is sure to light some panties on fire so I won't belabor that season's greatness too much. I mean it's worth noting that Sammy finished 14th across MLB in 1997 with 36 homers and that no one really considered him in the race until deep into June of 1998. For all intents and purposes it really wasn't Sammy's story until he went out and made the story about himself, which is something a lot of people forget.
Here's another thing that's often overlooked = Sammy Sosa was the real life Heart & Soul of the Chicago Cubs throughout a tenure that saw the Cubs shift from NL Laughing Stock to Not-Too-Fucking-Shabby status. That's the cold hard reality. No other player can take as much credit for the Cubs' image from the time Ryne Sandberg retired to the time Anthony Rizzo debuted in 2012. Notwithstanding a world championship, it would be impossible for one player to have a greater impact on a bunch of childhoods more than Sammy averaging 58 homers over a 5 years stretch.
58 homers over a 5 years stretch
Eddie and I went deep on the Sosa effect on today's Dog Walk with a focus on the one thing that pisses me off the most: Current Cubs' leadership just pretending he doesn't exist and he wasn't the franchises best player for a solid 2 decades.
People act like he wasn't the greatest show in town FOR YEARS while the rest of the organization floundered in mediocrity. When guys couldn't be bothered to give one flying fuck, there'd be Sammy sprinting out to RF putting the ballpark on his back. You physically sat on the edge of the seat when he came up, and if you didn't - it's because you were standing and screaming. And again it was like that FOR YEARS starting in '93 when he hit 33 bombs and stole 36 bases. Dude was a goddamn electric factory as we're all about to see this Sunday night.
For now, I want to set the stage that it's disgusting to me that the Cubs don't want to bring Sammy back. On the opposite end of that, Mark McGwire is firmly entrenched in the Cardinals' ring of honor/hall of fame thing. He gets to wear the red jacket and eat shrimp cocktail during homestands. He gets the heroes welcome and grade A parking spot while we can't even get a straight answer on where Sammy is. When you ask the Cubs today, they address it as a problem with prior leadership and default to not having a relationship with him.
So it's out of our control? But then we can turn around turn the surrounding neighborhood into Disney World and host Northwestern Football Day and pimp out naming rights for a Beer Garden to some faceless financial services firm? All I want is a straight answer and someone to put some effort where it belongs = Bringing Sammy Back
The childish games have gone on too long. There's absolutely zero reason to be salty or stubborn about Sammy's legacy, especially when so many people want him in the building for a formal celebration. This isn't even a debate:
To anyone who works for the Cubs - you guys should do some serious soul searching about what the people want. You think it's HD scoreboards and gourmet hot dogs and wristband level access to fancy clubs but in reality we just want to put our arms around Sammy and welcome him back. It's the very least we can do for the guy after everything he did for us.
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