Fresh off a World Series run, the Cubs have routinely made franchise legends like Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood and more part of the celebration. Through the playoffs, we saw former players like Rick Sutcliffe, Bob Denier and Ryan Dempster make appearances, notably to throw out the first pitch.
A glaring absence through all of this for years has been Sammy Sosa.
In the case of Sosa and the Cubs, though, we hear nary a whisper from the front office as to a possible reconciliation. For his part, Sosa is still waiting on an invitation.
Former Cubs employee Chuck Wasserstrom recently interviewed Sosa on his personal blog, and here’s a snippet of Sosa essentially asking the Cubs to reach out:
“Hey, if they send me an invitation, then I would definitely say ‘Yes.’ This is my house – no matter what happened (at the end). My numbers – nobody is going to take them from me. Not even Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, hit that many home runs. And I did it with style (laughing). But if they invite me, why not? One day, if they invite me, a lot of people will be very happy about it.”
In 13 years with the Cubs, Sosa hit .284/.358/.569 (139 OPS+) with 545 homers and 1414 RBI. He was a seven-time All-Star and won the 1998 NL MVP. He also put plenty of fans in the seats on his own, though we can’t really measure that.
Of course, Sosa has been connected to PEDs and his Cubs tenure ended on a very sour note. He left early on the final day of the disappointing 2004 season (via Wasserstrom:), though he says he got permission from manager Dusty Baker. Still, he regrets the situation,
“I should have handled that situation differently, yes indeed. I recognize my mistake. But look, I have my pride, and I know I had a tremendous career in Chicago. When nobody knew who Chicago was, I put Chicago on the map. Like you said, if I could have done it again, I would have done it differently. The only thing we cannot do is turn back time. We can’t do that. But hey, we have to move forward. I understand I made a mistake. I regret it, definitely, but I have to move on.”
Team that exit with the PED stain and it’s kept the Cubs away from Sosa for more than 12 years now.
Sosa, however, indicates he won’t go begging the Cubs for a reconciliation either, via Wasserstrom:
“I never say ‘No’ to that. I owe something to the people -- to the crowd in Chicago,” he said. “For that, I would come back. But I’m not going to go up there and say, ‘I’m here. Please bring me back and give me a chance.’ No way. I’m not hungry. I have too much pride. They know where they can find me.”
Given that the Cubs are under completely different leadership now, won the 2016 World Series and what Sosa meant to the organization for around a decade, it seems time to bring him back for a ceremonial first pitch and seventh-inning stretch guest conductor appearance, no? The time for anger or bitterness surely can be left in the past with stupid fake curses.