Report Indicates That Sammy Sosa Tested Positive in 2003: Sosa’s Response “No Se”

Wait, this guy used steroids? Couldn't be!

Wait, this guy used steroids? Couldn't be!

Well, perhaps after yesterday’s news, it won’t be such a calm wait for induction into the Hall-of-Fame. The anonymous report, which proved what had long been suspected, indicated that Sammy Sosa tested positive for a banned substance in 2003, joining Alex Rodriguez as the two players whose identities have been leaked from the list of 104 names.

While the specific substance Sosa used wasn’t revealed, the indication is that it was some sort of performance enhancing drug (i.e. STEROIDS, STEROIDS, STEROIDS). Sosa’s legacy had already been tarnished from the corked bat incident and it certainly seemed to the naked eye that Sosa grew rather unnaturally throughout his time with the Chicago Cubs (see photo above).

Despite the fact that his career numbers are outstanding (609 HR, 1667 RBIs, 2306 Ks) this latest revelation destroyed any chance that Sosa had of being elected to the Hall-of-Fame. After all, Mark McGwire hasn’t been able to garner anywhere near the number of votes necessary for induction in the HOF, and there is nothing against McGwire but anecdotal evidence (and one very poor appearance in court).

Sosa rose to national prominence in 1998 when he and McGwire engaged in an epic assault on Roger Maris’ single season HR record. While McGwire eventually won the race to 61 and ended up hitting 70 longballs, Sosa smashed 66 HRs on his way to capturing the NL MVP and winning over the hearts of fans in both America and his native Dominican Republic. Between 1999 and 2002, Sosa continued his prodigious display of power hitting 63, 50, 64 and 49 HRs respectively.

In 2003, Sosa received immense scrutiny after he was caught using a corked bat in a game, but was quickly forgiven by his ardent fans and the Wrigley faithful (give the guy a break, he did say it was an accident, and he seems honest). Sosa spent one more year in Chicago before toiling in Baltimore and Texas during his final seasons. He didn’t play in the major leagues in 2008 and just recently had announced his retirement from baseball, ending his career sixth on the all-time HR list.

The Sosa allegations are just another sad chapter in baseball's steroid era.

The Sosa allegations are just another sad chapter in baseball's steroid era.

Sosa was part of the group of players including Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and McGwire that testified before congress in 2005 about the use of steroids in baseball. During the hearing Sosa mysteriously lost the ability to speak English but through his lawyer issued the statement “to be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.” This statement, so blatantly erroneous on the surface, actually has some truth to it. Sosa, a native of the Dominican Republic, could have easily acquired steroids in his home country where they’re not illegal. More than anything, Sosa was guilty of a lie of omission, and this report finally brought the truth to the surface.

In an interview about the allegations, Bud Selig seemed to ignore the past, and professed his affection for Sammy Sosa and repeatedly brought up the fact that baseball now has the toughest drug testing of any sport. Selig wasn’t exaggerating, baseball’s testing is extremely stringent and effective (just ask Manny Ramirez), but he can’t simply gloss over what has happened in baseball during his regime.

If the sport is to truly move forward and leave the Steroids Era, baseball will need to continue to purge itself of cheaters, past and present. Revealing the players on that list from 2003 is an act of carthasis for baseball, the only the way the sport will be able to regain its reputation. Exposing Sosa and A-Rod is a step in the right direction…now let’s bring those 102 other players forward.

Mariners Monthly Roundup: April “Oh My God Are We Actually in 1st Place?” Edition

He's not actually so bad after all.

Erik Bedard was stellar in April.

Record: 13-9

AL West Standings: Seattle, Texas 2 GB, LA 3 GB, Oakland 4 GB

Top Hitter: Many of the Mariners’ projected top hitters have struggled in the early going with Jose Lopez, Adrian Beltre, Ken Griffey Jr and Franklin Gutierrez all hitting under .255. The catalyst for the offense in the first month was offseason acquisition Endy Chavez, known for his glove but not necessarily for his bat. Despite his Nicole Richie-eqsue physique, Chavez has been coming up big for the Mariners’, whether batting leadoff or in the number 2 hole behind Ichiro. In addition to getting on base at a good clip, Chavez has  been a threat on the basepaths stealing five bases to go along with his .305 average. A defensive whiz in leftfield, Chavez will prove an invaluable member of the M’s on both sides of the ball if he can continue to anchor the top of the lineup with Ichiro.

Top Pitcher(s): Two surprises have headlined the Mariner’s pitching staff thus far and are a big reason why the team is near the top of the majors in ERA (despite the best efforts of Carlos Silva). Even though he was roughed up in his last start Jerrod Washburn is pitching like a man on a mission after posting a 5-14 record last season. Washburn nearly matched last season’s win total in April alone, going 3-1 with 3.42 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He has been complemented nicely in the rotation by the reemergence of Erik Bedard. Bedard pitched well last season but because he spent so much time on the disabled list, he had little effect on the M’s horrific 2008 pitching numbers. He is once again looking the ace that Seattle had hoped for, and through April is sporting a 2-1 record, 2.61 ERA and has 32 Ks in only 31 innings. Felix Hernandez, the one consistent pitcher for the M’s last year, has led the staff since day one and after the first month of the season is 4-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 36 Ks. Is the Cy Young talk far off? If these three can continue to deliver quality starts the Mariners should stay in contention all season long.

Chavez has been a big reason for the M's great start.

Chavez has been a big reason for the M's great start.

Biggest Surprise: The calendar has turned to May and the Mariners are still in first place…enough said. Let’s just hope we’re saying the same thing come September.

Biggest Disappointment: Although he has been a positive influence in the clubhouse and on attendance, Ken Griffey is playing much more like the senior rather than the junior version these days. Always one for seizing the moment, Griffey started the year strong by homering in his first game and still has about as many walks as strikeouts, but otherwise has struggled mightily at the plate. If he continues to hit at his current clip, Junior will be a major liability in the Mariners’ hunt for the AL West title, leaving manager Don Wakamatsu with a very tough decision about what to do with the aging slugger.

Injuries: The pitching staff has been missing starter Ryan Rowland-Smith since Spring Training. Rowland-Smith started the year with triceps tendinitis, but is expected to resume throwing soon and could return the first week of May, taking the place of Chris Jakubauskas (much to the delight of announcers everywhere). Catcher Kenji Johjima was placed on the 15-DL due to hamstring issues and is also expected to return in early May. Chad Cordero, a free agent signing in the offseason, is slated to throw batting practice soon and could join the roster in within a week or two if his right shoulder soreness improves.

May Schedule: 3 vs. Oakland, 2 vs. Texas, 2 @ Kansas City, 3 @ Minnesota, 3 @ Texas, 3 vs. Boston, 4 vs. Los Angeles, 3 vs. San Francisco, 3 @ Oakland, 3 @ Los Angeles.

Overall Grade: (A-) The Mariners have greatly exceeded expectations thus far despite a sub-par offense and some early issues in the bullpen. If Wakamatsu can figure out an effective lineup this squad could still be playing come October.

The All-Ugly Team: NL Uggos Edition

Baseball is a beautiful game. The crisp green grass, the blue skies, Randy Johnson’s mullet, 6-4-3 double plays, etc. However, while the sport may be a feast for the eyes, not all baseball players are exactly dead ringers for Fabio. Most fans look at these players and wished their hats covered their entire faces, rather than just the top of their domes. These players are so ugly the ball actually veers of its course as it’s headed towards them. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the ugliest players at every position in the NL!

gorzelannySP: Tom Gorzelanny (Pittsburgh Pirates)–No ladies and gentleman, that’s not Sloth from The Goonies, it’s Pirates lefty Tom Gorzelanny. As if looking like that wasn’t enough, he’s fresh off a season in which he went 6-9 with a 6.66 ERA. WOOF!

ruach2RP: Jon Rauch (Arizona Diamondbacks)–Apparently ole crazy eyes here hasn’t heard of decaf coffee. It’s not Rauch’s pitching prowess that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing hitters, it’s that unflinching stare. Bonus points awarded for the unfortunate attempt at a soul patch.

fasanoC: Sal Fasano (Colorado Rockies)— 6-2″, 250 lbs + massive handlebar mustache=end of story. Fasano is responsible for over 10000 swings-and-misses in his career thanks to that impressive work of facial hair. He might want to consider spending less time grooming and more in the batting cage (.221 career BA).

laroche1B: Adam LaRoche (Pittsburgh Pirate)–Already another Pirate on the list? Apparently the only thing uglier than this team’s win-loss record is it’s players. LaRoche scores big in two categories, disgusting facial hair and Oscar the Grouch-esuqe eyebrows…and this is one of his better pictures.

uggla12B: Dan Uggla (Florida Marlins): His last name is Uggla, is there really anyway he gets left off this list? Even worse than his mug was his performance in last years All-Star game: 3 errors, 0-4, 3 k’s, GIDP. Ouch!

wilson

SS: Jack Wilson (Pittsburgh Pirates): Good lord, the city of Pittsburgh must add an ugliness supplement to its water, because the Pirates sure don’t have many lookers. Ole Jack-O here is sure to be a hit with the ladies due to his goblin-esque appearance. Rumor has it he served as an extra in Lord of the Rings.

lamb

3B: Mike Lamb (Milwaukee Brewers): Mike Lamb was supposed to be the Twins answer at 3B last year, which had been a void since the departure of Tony Batista. Instead he had exactly the same number of HRs as eyebrows (one). The .235 average in ’08 didn’t exactly make him a beauty queen either.

pierre

LF: Juan Pierre (LA Dodgers): Juan Pierre’s head would be just the right size, if he were 4-years-old. Apparently while the rest of his body was growing (including his honey-dew sized adam’s apple) Pierre’s head stayed just the same size. On the plus side, it does make him more aerodynamic for stealing bases.

rjohnson

CF: Reed Johnson (Chicago Cubs): Believe it or not, that’s not a live hamster on Reed Johnson’s chin, it’s actually facial hair–that he keeps there by choice. Granted he only made $1.3 million last year, very little in these tough economic times, but you think he could spring for a Gillette, or even just a pair of scissors. Who knows how many undiscovered animals live in that patch of wilderness on Johnson’s face (7).spilbroghs1

RF: Ryan Spilborghs (Colorado Rockies): Contrary to popular belief, Osama Bin Laden doesn’t live in a hilly area of Afghanistan, he actually plays rightfield for the Colorado Rockies. Where better to hide then on the roster of one the NL’s most mediocre teams? He does swing a mean stick though (.302 career BA).

gross1Utility: Gabe Gross (Milwaukee Brewers): Unlike Dan Uggla who joins this list simply because of his last name, Gabe combines the strength of his last name, Gross, with a head the size of Nadya Suleman’s pregnant belly–making him a true double-threat. Mother’s cover your children’s eyes, especially when this .238 hitter in ’08 comes to the plate.

Special thanks to ESPN.com for all the photos. One can imagine it’s not much fun to photograph these players.