Today on Blogcritics
Home » Sammy Sosa Hits 600: See What Flintstones Vitamins Can Do?

Sammy Sosa Hits 600: See What Flintstones Vitamins Can Do?

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

What words can you possibly say about a guy who just hit his 600th home run (against his former team, the Chicago Cubs) and has now joined the elite ranks of a chosen baseball few like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Barry Bonds?

Well, like Sammy Sosa at a Congressional hearing on steroids himself, the words “no hablo inglés” quickly come to mind.

I find it stomach-churning that a self-serving showboat like Sammy Sosa can be as skinny as Olive Oyl one day – and puffed out like one of Jerry Seinfeld’s pirate shirts the next. But, hey, I bought into this pre-BALCO mess like the rest of the country back in the roaring '90s when we were oh-so-hungry for the excitement of home run hitters again.

We, the American sports fans, wanted to believe in baseball again – and what better way to rid yourself of agonizing memories of a baseball strike (or Kurt Cobain blowing his brains out, for that gray matter) than immersing yourself into the national pastime, huh?

My enthusiasm for baseball was certainly rejuvenated back in 1998 when “the home run race” for the must-have magic number of homers (now “70”) in a single season was won by GNC mega-man, Mark McGwire (before appearing like a mumbling, bumbling, Incredible Hulk himself at his own Congressional hearing – and testifying like an amnesia victim left over from Day of Our Lives).

And hey, to be fair, I used some over-the-counter “supplements” of my own over the years in the wacky world of quasi-sports-journalism. So I hope the “Pulitzer Surprise committee” will forgive me when I tell you I needed to get “a leg-up” on Timmy (or any advantage I could get) who was quickly overshadowing my quirky headline-making abilities down at the college newspaper. And to this day – and in my defense – I SWEAR all that Miller Genuine Draft found in my office desk was for “medicinal purposes.”

But whether GNC or MGD is involved, I guess the biggest difference is that the rest of America doesn’t look to me as “a hero” to hang their national pride – and hat – on, whereas Mark McGwire was (partly) in charge of preserving (and helping to rebuild) the sanctity of our country’s pastime to the best of his (actual) ability.

When I was a kid, my mom used to point to Popeye to get me to eat my spinach. Sadly, after consuming several cans of the slimy stuff, I was seldom able to beat the snot out of the neighborhood bully – I had to turn to journalism to do that.

I used to think that if I ingested a “magical combination” of Pop Rocks and Diet Crystal Pepsi that it would alter my DNA enough to give me the ability to “spontaneously combust” – and fly off my roof like “Superman” or “The Human Torch.” That idea fizzled faster than a dead kid on the front of a “Life” cereal box.

It’s hard to get excited about someone like Sammy Sosa (who has been found guilty of nothing in the way of using enhancements, by the way) when you see someone like Cleveland Indians' outfielder, Grady Sizemore, utilizing his talents the old fashioned way: HE’S EARNED IT.

And (speaking of seeing Red about overlooked raw natural talent) Ken Griffey Jr.: Where have you (going, going) gone?

I’ll put that trademark asterisk (*) after all their names: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, AND Mark McGwire in the history books (just in case the “politically correct police” want to argue the point that Bonds or Sosa are being treated unfairly in the public eye because they are minorities. Now, just like “The Taffy Factory Phantoms” from Scooby-Doo, we have one of every color in the bunch). Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the so-called “monsters” of the BALCO investigation are going to get unmasked anytime soon (unless Jason Giambi sings like a canary …about a certain St. Louis Cardinal).

But common sense has to tell you that these three men had to use some sort of artificial “supplements” to enhance their God-given talents – and that’s cheating. The damage is done, the records will be broken, and the rest, as they say, is history*.

But that certainly does not mean I will give any sort of respect or admiration of mine to Sosa and his “synthetic” cohorts. Like a sign in the crowd at the ballpark read: “Babe Ruth did it with hot dogs and beer.”

Some will say that Sammy Sosa deserves the benefit of the doubt because there has never been any “substantial proof” that he used steroids (or cheated) during his pro baseball career. Some fans will say what’s done is done and we should just look the other way and move on – for the good of baseball. “Common sense” can never replace actual phantom physical evidence in the world of professional sports, some fans might say.

Fair enough. But either way baseball has been tarnished and, to them, I simply say this when it concerns the history of Sammy Sosa: Put a cork in it.

Powered by

About Chris McVetta

Chris McVetta is a writer and comedian from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate from Cleveland State University and an alumni of The Second City comedy writing program. His first job in journalism was as an Editorial Assistant working with Harvey Pekar ("American Splendor") at The Free Times. Most recently, his was invited to speak at the Ray Browne conference on Pop Culture at Bowling Green State University.
  • tyt

    If you aren’t racist, why not add Clemens to the list?

  • sal m

    here’s some better questions…if he IS racist why doesn’t he have all black and latino players on the list? if he IS a racist, how come he lumps in mcgwire with sosa and bonds? if he IS racist why does he say that ken griffey, jr is overlooked because of the cheaters? and finally if he IS racist why in his argument does chris defend the acheivements of aaron and mays?

    oh, i forgot in the land of anonymous internet randoms, facts don’t matter nor does credibility. just make pointless comments and slink away.

    good item chris….

  • http://www.theidandi.blogspot.com Chris McVetta

    Thanks, Sal!

    And if I may, don’t forget about Grady Sizemore, who is half-black (his dad is African-American, I believe).

    Because, hey, I hardly ever have anything good to say about HIM…

  • Kevin White

    Your final comment makes the point that history has proven – common sense changes from day to day, society to society, but facts do not. Bonds, leaked or not, has admitted to a grand jury that he did take steroids. McGwire’s performance avoided the question of steroids. For a guy like Sosa, who is semi-fluent at best, and searches for words slowly only to come up with simple cliches, I think that hiring a translator for a CONGRESSIONAL HEARING is perfectly reasonable. Did you take Spanish in high school? Did you speak it well enough that if all the words were simple, you could be understood by a native speaker? Now, would you testify in front of a Mexican, Spanish, or Dominican court of law or major government body? I know I would rather speak in a language I am comfortable with if I could do so. Furthermore, Sosa’s message (translated or not) was that he did not use any illegal substances, rather than avoiding the question. As for the corked bat, given their extreme propensity to break, having only one would have been ridiculous. As you may have conveniently forgotten, his 76 other bats were immediately confiscated and found uniformly clean, as were all of his hall of fame bats from his various high-homer years. Moreover, it was 9 years between his Rangers debut and 1998 – if you followed him, looked at media guides, baseball cards, or anything, you would have seen that he gained 5 to 10 pounds a year consistently. Lastly, his 36 homer season in 1995 was in a shortened 144-game season (41-homer pace). In 1996, he had 40 in early august before a wrist injury from a hit-by-pitch (pace for 52). His 1997 was a miserable 36-homer, 119 RBI thing, despite the notoriety of sluggers recovering their stroke slowly following wrist injuries. Yeah, he certainly showed NONE of that 1998 ability (despite hitting 33 homers as early as 1993). I am tired of those who proclaim guilt by tenuous association and buy into media hype. Palmeiro tested positive, McGwire did not respond to questioning, Bonds and Giambi have admitted their guilt (one in a court of law), and Sosa….has shown nothing. Oh, well, when facts or even circumstial evidence is not to be found, meritless accusations must suffice.

    If you can, please respond – otherwise be a responsible journalist (or critic or human) and back up your common “sense” with fact.

  • Christy

    Chris, you are truly an amazing human being. You are fun, articulate and witty and such a joy to meet in person! I deeply sense that good things are about to come your way.

    Christy, from the volleyball court

  • http://www.theidandi.blogspot.com Chris McVetta

    What is this …a witch hunt???

    First of all, I have no problem adding Roger Clemens to “the list.”

    Second of all, Mr. White, you have no problem twisting YOUR facts to support YOUR arguments (and you are certainly entitled to do so) – but just because Sosa (Bonds, McGwire, etc.) has never been found guilty of using steroids yet …doesn’t mean he’s innocent of it either (no matter in what language he denies using steroids – and, yes, I did take 3 years of Spanish in high school – WHO CARES?).

    O.J. Simpson said he’s NOT GUILTY of multiple murder and was found innocent in a court of law – but how many people truly believe he’s innocent?

    Every person here has a right to their OPINION – including YOUR opinion – and I’m sticking to mine based on the facts, evidence, innuendo, or whatever of the situation. As a sports fan, that’s my right – and reading “baseball card stats” to me is not going to sway my opinion.

    And, finally, Christy …you forgot to mention my “cool haircut” …and the check is in the mail.

    Have a nice day!

  • The Haze

    and that’s why….C-L-E-V-E-L-A-N-D R-O-C-K-S!!!!!!!! So take that Mr. White!

  • Derick

    I do now want to hear the word racist from anyone. If you do not realize that Sammy Sosa ABUSED illegal performance enhancing drugs to achieve his goals you are brain dead and should not have a voice, and if you do have one, no one should listen to it. Guess what? Steroids have been illegal by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT for longer than I have been alive. And any record is only relative to it’s era and the players that were playing in it. That is why Babe Ruth will always be the greatest baseball player of all time. No one will ever mention Barry Bonds in the same sentence. Barry Bonds, as well as Sammy Sosa were never team players. They played for themselves. Anyone who knows anything about Sosa knows his unimaginable selfishness and ego.