Somewhere Steve Bartman is laughing, somewhere in a bunker safe from Cubbie fans.
Sammy-Gate is spinning out of control. Sosa claims that he stayed in the clubhouse until the 7th inning of the Cubs final, inconsequential game. The Cubs say that they have security camera footage that shows he left 13 minutes after the game started. Some Cub employee actually reviewed the footage to determine when Sosa left.
Baker is now saying that Sammy was "ailing"--nudge nudge, wink wink.
Who cares? The game didn't matter. The Cubs season was over.
Well, the real issue, and it's continually mentioned with the story, is that Sosa had his worst year since becoming Sammy Sosa. Sosa had an .849 OPS, which placed him 7th among the 11 qualifying right fielders. But he's 35. Not everyone can age as gracefully as Barry Bonds. Sosa's been steadily declining since hitting 64 homers in 2001.
Really, Sosa's numbers are not that bad 35 HR, .517 slugging percentage, but people see the .253 batting average and "just" 80 RBI. The odd thing is that anyone following the Cubs over the last year or so knows that Sosa is no longer the offensive leader. This year it was clearly Aramis Ramirez. Sosa was especially poor down the stretch with a .705 September OPS.
But there's no way Sosa can be blamed entirely for the Cubs' 2-7 record as their season faded. There's plenty of blame to go around. But what is it about the Northsiders needing to tab someone as the scapegoat each time their World Series hopes evaporate?