Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
In the latest round of he said-he said between the Cubs and Sammy Sosa, the ursine slugger was fined one day's pay for missing the Cubbie finale. Hey, the same thing would have happened of you or I missed work. The only difference would be, at least in my case, I wouldn't forego $87,400 as a penalty.
That's a ton of cash, but really aren't the Cubs being a bit petty going through hours of surveillance tape just to determine Sosa's actions that day. Clearly Sosa lied and he was not in the clubhouse until the seventh inning. The footage shows him leaving 15 minutes after the game began. Unless Jim Kaat came out of retirement to pitch no one could have gotten seven innings in within 15 minutes.
There is more to the story. Sosa feels that he has been made a scapegoat. He even feels that he is being blamed for last year's playoff loss when everyone know's it was Steve Bartman's fault (I'm joking of course). The Cubs don't like his work ethic and feel he's become too fragile.
The bottom line is that winning would have cured all these ailments. It reminds me of the Garciaparra situation when he was in Boston. Nomar had been a franchise player for years, but when new players were brought in that perform better than him (in both cases with the surname of Ramirez) and as he aged and became more fragile, he became more expendable and the situation devolved from there.
Maybe it's the pent-up feelings that are surpressed while a team strokes its designated leader. Maybe it's that his shows were to tight (no that was the Grinch). Whatever the reason, the team starts to feel that the player must go due more to the situation, that they had some hand in creating, than for the player's declining skills.
So the Cubs will apparently shop the 500-HR hitter this offseason even with his hefty price tag. And apparently the team has to downgrade the superstar's status with the fans, usually through the local media, in order to create the public support for his ouster. The only problem is that it lowers his value in the marketplace as well.
But it seems to be the route of choice and since managerial firings are often leaked to the court of public opinion as well (e.g., Mets and Phils), I guess it's here to stay.
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