Sosa Gets Uncorked

El Vaquero Staff Writer

A 3-2 fastball to Sammy Sosa, hit to left field, a homerun! Sosa has hit another one.

How many times have we seen this? Well if you are a Chicago Cub fan, you have seen or heard it 468 times.

But how many of times now will you wonder if those homeruns were hit with a corked bat? Since Sosa was caught Tuesday night with cork in the barrel of his bat, will this hurt his stature as one of the greatest players of all time?

Will this hurt Sosa’s reputation as a ball player?

Of course it will, but not enough to keep the “Dominican daddy” out of the hall of fame. His 505 homeruns, 17th on the all time list, and his persona as one of baseballs greatest ambassadors give him a free ticket to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

All of his bats were confiscated on Tuesday and X-rayed for cork, yet nothing was found validating Sosa’s story that he grabbed a batting practice bat instead of a game time bat.

By using cork in the bat players gain an advantage, having quicker hand speed from loss of weight from the missing wood.

This creates more speed through the strike zone which makes for a harder hit ball, which gives the batter a greater chance to hit a homerun.

But even though Sosa said it was for batting practice, why does he need it at all? He already hits 500-foot homeruns using a regular bat.

Jack Kasarjian, owner of the company TUFF BATS, maker of Sosa’s bat, said, “he made an honest mistake that many players do, when he chose his batting practice bat. He had just come off the disabled list and tried to get the muscle memory back in his swing by using a lighter bat during practice, which would explain the use of the cork.”

“He will still continue to do what he does best, and that is hit homeruns.” Sosa was using a maple bat, a new type of wood that many major league players are now starting to use. This is due to the fact that maple is more durable than a normal ash wood bat such as a Louisville Slugger.

Kasarjian also said that Sosa’s explanation about using a BP bat for the game is true. He said many of the players that use his bat have told him that they use the maple bat for both practice and games. I understand that Sosa needed the help coming off the disabled list, but why not just take more batting practice like others do when they come back from an injury?

But, there have been many cheaters in the past that have gotten caught or have been known to cheat and are still in Cooperstown. Gaylord Perry, who is maybe the biggest cheater in the history of the game, pitched for over 20 years with many foreign objects on the baseball and he is still in the hall of fame.

Ty Cobb use to sharpen his cleats to injure catchers with his spikes while sliding into home plate, and he was one of the first inductees into the hall of fame.

What Sammy says about not knowing that he had a batting practice bat in his hand is questionable. But until they can prove that Sosa used a coked bat for all of those 505 homeruns, he is still a first ballot hall of fame candidate.