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Sosa Spelled Backwards isn't Asos, it's Fraud

By Tim Ryan

As we’ve witnessed over the past few years, there’s no one above suspicion when it comes to the use of performance enhancing substances in Major League Baseball. The cloud of skepticism has only darkened as more and more of our heroes in caps and cleats are implicated in what is becoming an epidemic plaguing the entire baseball culture. As the list of the 104 players who tested positive slowly dribbles into the public eye, big names continue to emerge showing who crossed the line into foul ground. Though the test results are only a sample from 2003, those around Major League Baseball assume a certain reality about the situation. If players were testing positive when they had mandatory drug screenings, these individuals were most likely experimenting with performance enhancers in years past.

The newest member of this hall of shame is Sammy Sosa, who tallied 609 career home runs--leaving him sitting in sixth position on the all time list. Though I don’t want to give a free pass to the Palmeiros, A-Rods and Man-Rams of the world, I take exception to this latest finding, considering I spent years watching Slammin’ Sammy pummel balls into the cheap seats.

I guess, as many others did, I turned a blind eye during the summer of ‘98 when Sosa and Mark McGwire were launching juiced balls into uncharted territories. I may have even trusted Sammy when he claimed the corked bat he was found using was only meant for batting practice, as a tool to get more souvenirs to the bleachers. Or maybe I always knew the reality of the situation and just denied its importance. What does this say about me? Am I delusional? Do I care about the integrity of the game only after enjoying the circus show?

Either way, I now realize that I was part of the steroid era where many players, fans and MLB associates were cheated. I can only hope that when the entire list of 104 players finally surfaces, it doesn’t include a few other names that I’ve grown so fond of watching over the years. Or does it really matter? While I took offense to the news of Sosa, I can’t say I was all that surprised. I simply shook my head and thought of a TV advertisement for an old video game named “Sammy Sosa Softball Slam” where his tag line was “It’s sooooo real!”

No Sammy, it really wasn’t but hopefully for the next generation of players and fans it will be.

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