Sosa had plenty of excuses to use

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2003

What was he thinking?

That seems to be the question everyone is asking about Sammy Sosa after he broke a bat Tuesday night, thus exposing a corked center in his bat.

Sosa explained that it was all a mix-up. He has a corked bat he uses in batting practice to put on a show for the fans. The excuse sounds very logical since his other 76 bats examined by Major League Baseball all proved to be negative.

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Actually, Sosa had several other excuses he planned to use in the event he was ever caught using a corked bat. He met after the game with Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker to discuss the various excuses. After listening to Sosa's other explanations, they decided the "batting practice" bat excuse was the most believable.

So what were the other excuses? Well, I just happened to be in Chicago Tuesday and was hiding in Baker's office and taped the conversation. Here is an excerpt:

Baker: Well Sammy, how are we going to explain this? The media is waiting.

Sosa: Skip, I've got a few ideas I'd like to run past you and see which one sounds the best.

Baker: Okay, shoot.

Sosa: I could tell them Bob Linn's Sporting Goods was having a corked bat sale and it was too good of a deal that I couldn't pass it up.

Baker: That won't work. ESPN showed a clip where Buck Showalter corked a bat at home and it was a whole lot cheaper.

Sosa: The weather. You can always blame things on the weather. We'll say with all this rain, I needed something that would float.

Baker: We haven't had that much rain. We've been bothered more by cool temperatures than rain.

Sosa: How about we say there was a rumor Hans Blix was hired as the Major League Baseball inspector and I knew he couldn't find anything.

Baker: You can't rely on a rumor. It has to be in the news.

Sosa: Well, here's something that's been in the news. We say Martha Stewart told me cork stocks were about to go up and it would be a good investment.

Baker: Oh no. Don't get caught being associated with her.

Sosa: The only other thing I can think of is we had an Old Timers game earlier and Albert Belle shared a locker with me. He must have left one of his bats in my bat rack slots.

Baker: Sammy, why don't you just stick with the truth. You picked up your practice bat by mistake?

Sosa: C'mon. You know no one will believe the truth.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.