Monday, February 20, 2006

Sammy and Bode

Several e-mailers questioned my recent rant about Sammy "Corky" Sosa. C'mon, leave Sammy alone! He gave us hours of fun at Wrigley! What's your problem anyway?

To understand my problem with Sammy you must understand that Roberto Clemente is my all-time favorite baseball player. I grew up a Cubs fan, Clemente played for the Pirates, and I can still hear Cubs' broadcaster Jack Brickhouse wailing "Oh man, Clemente does it to us again!"

Clemente was an almost mythic, God-like presence in the Pirate outfield. Here's part of his biography from baseball's Hall of Fame:

"Roberto Clemente Walker's pride and humanitarianism won him universal admiration. Despite an unorthodox batting style, the Pirates' great won four batting crowns and amassed 3,000 hits. He was equally brilliant in right field, where he displayed a precise and powerful arm. Clemente earned National League MVP honors in 1966, but achieved his greatest fame in the 1971 World Series, when he batted .414. Tragically, Clemente's life ended at age 38 - the victim of a plane crash while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims."

Of Clemente's outfield play, Tim McCarver once said "Some right fielders have rifles for arms, but he had a howitzer." Clemente earned 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his excellence in the outfield.

Sosa could've been this generation's Roberto Clemente. He had all the tools, yet his career is one of missed potential, poor choices, bad attitudes, sloppy play, arrogance and selfishness. And nobody would ever mistake him for a humanitarian. No, he's a Sammytarian. Sammy first, last and always. He can't spell 'team' - there's no 'I' in it.

Not that life needed another example of Sammyism at work, but now along comes Bode "I've skiied drunk" Miller, alleged leader of the USA Olympic ski team. After flaming out in yet another race today, Miller is quoted as saying "I could be sitting on four medals..."

Yeah, Bode, except you're NOT sitting on 4 medals. You're too content to be skiing's Sammy Sosa, a jerk with enough talent to be pretty good, but who won't dedicate himself to being the best.

Sammy and Bode. Insults, both, to those of us with little talent, no speed, aching joints, and the simple desire to be the best we can be. You can tell a lot about people by learning who their heroes are. Athletes everywhere deserve better than these two.


mipper said...

my hubby and i were just talking about the US ski team (male and female) and their horrible performance thus far. kildow has an excuse... i mean, i am amazed that girl is walking straight. but the rest... if you are gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk. and what was up with the girl who wore a tiara on slalom and the girl with pearls? my husband and i are so embarrassed by these athletes who are supposed to be representing our country and yet, they all seem to be Sammy. wonder if any of them would answer to that name?

Lora said...

I say, AMEN!!

Batman said...

Well said.