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On Sosa: Let Down and Hanging Around

Radiohead song titles do make for good blog post headlines, providing you're delving into a rather depressing subject. And hey, what's more depressing that the public undressing of one of baseball's former feel-good stories, Sammy Sosa.

According to a report in today's New York Times by Michael S. Schmidt -- and widely circulated elsewhere after the fact -- former Cubs and Orioles (not to mention Rangers) slugger Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs during baseball's 2003 testing period. The test was well after his mano-a-mano chase of the single season home run record with Mark McGwire, but it still cements a taint on Sosa's achievement, confirming what many baseball analysts had long suspected.

There's no word on which particular substance Sosa tested positive for, and his lawyer, Jay Reisinger, declined comment when contacted by the Times. Yet regardless of which substance it was, the positive test all but ruins any remaining threads of a legacy Sosa had built in the game.

While his career helped define the Cubs in the late 90s and early 2000s, Sosa will always be best remembered for two things: His personal pursuit of the home run record alongside McGwire and the way he reacted to questions about steroid use. When given the opportunity to take a urine sample to a testing lab near Wrigley Field by then Sports Illustrated columnist (turned ESPN columnist) Rick Reilly, Sosa angrily lashed out at the writer and had him kicked out of the Cubs clubhouse.

While that episode couldn't get Sosa in any trouble that a PR consultant couldn't fix, his testimony that he never used performance enhancing drugs in front of Congress may put him in a legal bind. While McGwire repeatedly refused to answer questions about drug use, Sosa said he had never taken any illegal substances, and he did it more than once.

Now, like Roger Clemens, Sosa could find himself the subject of a federal perjury investigation. The odds are that he probably won't -- he's not as big a public figure as Clemens is anymore -- but he could. In a way, that would add insult to the personal injury Sosa is sure to take from his positive tests.

Not that he needs to look any worse in the public eye, of course. Sosa's personality waned in nearly equal parts with his production at the tail end of his career. While he wore out the patience of fans, a general consensus that Reilly may have been on to something emerged.

If the report in the Times is correct, then all those suspicions will be confirmed, and we'll all be left to feel let down by a transcendent star ... again ... without him hanging around to answer for his past sins.

By Cameron Smith  |  June 17, 2009; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Orioles  | Tags: Cubs, Orioles, Sammy Sosa, steroids  
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Next: Moment of Levity: The Big Picture


In other news, water is wet and fire is hot. I think most people saw this coming. I wonder what the other 102 names are.

Posted by: Joran | June 17, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Joran. I'm not shocked to learn this.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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