Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Corkage Fee: Yesterday Chicago Cub slugger Sammy Sosa broke his bat on an RBI groundout to second revealing that the bat had been corked. For a player who has capitalized as much on his image as on his ability, this is a major no-no. He says it was a mistake, that his batting practice lumber got mixed with his game equipment. Many are skeptical.

Even if Sosa uses a corked bat for practice (which I'm not sure of, since players are so often seen using heavier bats for warm ups and a corked bat is significantly lighter) how could he be so careless. After all, bats break from time to time and a revelation like this hurts Sammy in a way it didn't affect Graig Nettles or Albert Belle. They weren't raking it in from endorsements and memorabilia. Why take the chance? Maybe because an injury plagued start to the season combined with a 2-15 slump had Sosa looking for a little help.

I hope for Sosa's sake and for baseball's sake that every bat they cut open is cork free. But even if they are, the shadow of doubt has been raised and Sammy's gonna pay a price. Time for a little of that "Baseball has been berry, berry good to me" PR work.

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