Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sosa Knows the Score.

So I think most people are looking at this Sosa comeback thing as some kind of sideshow, an unimportant return by a man who is at best ridiculous and at worst a reviled cheater. He seems certain to fail in this comeback, to maybe hit a few more home runs before reverting to something like the .221/.295/.376 line we all thought finished him in Baltimore two years ago. His is a signing that seems oddly to not be about baseball at all, but a chance for a usually anonymous team to get some early headlines. Sammy Sosa's always been really easy to laugh at, and of course his return to the Rangers evokes all of those old easy self-writing articles, bringing up those well-covered Sosa foibles: quitting on his team (he left Wrigley field on the last day of a lost 2004 season), corking his bat (he said he accidently used his special batting practice model), and getting hilariously, metaphorically hit in the head near the end of his Cubs career. Sosa's comeback has also prompted a pile of unfunny print about his legendary ability to change his command of the English language at will.

It is undisputable, however, that the man is hi-larious.

He's hitting .175/.195/.325 with two home runs at the moment, and may not last a full month. But Sammy Sosa's comeback, sure to fail (and clearly failing) at its baseball aspect, is actually his best possible career move. Sosa's Hall of Fame eligibility has now been delayed by two years, and he cannot appear on a ballot until at least 2012. If McGwire, Sosa's partner in 1998 nation-captivating and probable substance culpability is ever to be elected, there will have to be a serious change of purpose by the voting body, who accorded him a mere 23.5% of their support. Sosa's return allows an additional two years for the addled moral circus to die down to something resembling sanity, although he should be careful to avoid retiring within a year of Barry Bonds, whose election is now even more unlikely after being confirmed as the Virginia Tech shooter.

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