For years now, the image of Sammy in most American minds was Sammy hugging Mark McGwire during the Maris Chase in 1998. Or Sammy racing out to right field waving his little American flag after Sept. 11, 2001. Or Sammy doing his little hop step as another home run sailed off toward a Waveland Avenue rooftop.
But not anymore.
Now the image is going to be Sammy hitting a dinky little broken-bat ground ball to second base — on the night his world changed forever.
Now people will ask if he has cheated his way to those 505 home runs, even though all the cork in Portugal wouldn’t help a man hit 505 home runs if he couldn’t hit.
Stark may be right; I hope he isn’t. While we’ll never know for sure, my inclination is to take Sosa at his word that he was merely careless–using a BP bat instead of a game bat by mistake–rather than a cheater. Presumably, the man has broken many a bat over the years; bats break all the times nowadays, because of the transformation to very thin-handled clubs. If none of those had cork in them, it stands to reason that he hasn’t been using a corked bat the whole time.