I freely admit it. I'm rather dense. When I read an article or headline, I attempt to read as little into it as possible. If someone chose to not include a line of reason into an article, I'll assume he chose not to pursue it, forgot about it, or it was blue-lined by an editor. Today, I saw an article on my timeline about bringing Sammy Sosa back. As usual, I looked at it analytically, and had no idea what all "Sosa coming back" would entail. Earlier today you read about a couple of Sammy’s biggest home runs. Here are my thoughts about Sosa possibly returning to the fold.
Bringing a formerly popular and somewhat controversial player back is a risk. Bringing, for instance, Ryne Sandberg back into the Cubs family was a no-brainer. Ryno had no excess baggage to explain away. Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins were welcomed back with open arms. Not only were they beloved, they have been useful as coaches and instructors at Spring Training for quite some time.
Sosa has baggage. To deny that is unfair. Sosa is popular. To deny that is unfair. As both sides of the labor issue wrangle over a 2020 season, Cubs fans ought to be realistic regarding Sosa returning. For some people, it would be a really cool thing. For others, he did some things, or likely did things, that were probably unsavory. To dismiss the other side of an issue entirely is very 2020, but I hope my readers aren't into intellectual dishonesty.
Any return of Sosa ought to require a bit of giving by both sides. To demand everything you want, because you want it that way, pretty much guarantees gridlock. I asked on Twitter what "Sosa being back" would entail. Among the responses:
- Having his uniform number retired
- Invites to Cubs Convention
- A role in Spring Training
As for retiring the number? I could see that. When I see uniform number 21, all I think of is Roberto Clemente, anyway. Some September call-up in 15 years shouldn't wear 21 with so many other numbers available. If Sosa has an extended multi-tiered discussion with ownership, I'd be good with raftering 21.
Invites to the Cubs Convention: Of any idea, I'm as amenable to this as anything. January gatherings are for the fans. If Sosa can raise $10,000 for Cubs Care over a weekend, cool for that. Again, though, both ownership and Sosa would be expected to give a bit before this is realistic.
Spring training. I'm completely about player development, and that happens in Mesa. And in Boca Chica. And wherever else players are developing. Goodness, there'd have to be years of trust built up before the Cubs allow Sosa anywhere near a prospect. Injections lead to suspensions, and before he would get any "alone time" with a prospect, it would have to be crystal clear Sosa is talking hitting and throwing, not Boldenone and Stanozolol.
From a fans-only perspective, bringing Sosa back would be a hoot. From an ownership perspective, it's a potential logistical nightmare. Being who I am, I'm planted rather firmly on both sides, as well as a few other angles as well.
If Sosa contacts the Cubs, and says he'd like to be able to have a role with the team, that would seem the first step. It might have already happened and rebuffed. Or, it could have been accepted with qualifiers that weren't entirely accepted. Baseball isn't 100 percent about the fans. This should already be understood.
Sosa is iconic, but also somewhat toxic. To deny either is a bit daft. Would adding Sosa to the "good person list" add $100 million to the Ricketts family's investment? Dollars seem more important to owners than Short-Season affiliates. I could be swayed toward letting Sosa sing the seventh inning stretch, tossing out first pitches, or even taking BP at Wrigley. However, like Pete Rose, he'd have to come clean on a few things first. Otherwise, the risk isn't worth the reward for the people with "the most to lose," the owners.
What should be the next step between the Cubs and Sammy Sosa resuming their relationship?
This poll is closed
Sammy should apologize to Tom Ricketts and the organization before being welcomed back
The Cubs should welcome Sammy back unconditionally
Don’t care either way
Something else (leave in comments)