The new Black Sox

By Allen Barra


Salon Staff
July 13, 2000 11:47PM (UTC)

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In his article on the Chicago Cubs' apparent decision to get rid their star outfielder, Allen Barra wonders if a player of Sammy Sosa's caliber has been hounded off his team before but doesn't come up with any examples. Well, Tigers fans may remember Hank Greenberg unhappily winding up with the Pirates after devoting his career to Detroit. If that's too far back for Barra, how about Seattle exchanging Randy Johnson for nothing more than 50 bucks and a used Toyota 4Runner? Or Oakland dumping Mark McGwire?

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Setting aside Barra's defective memory, his entire diatribe is fatally flawed. There have been plenty of occasions when a team elected to put a defective product on the field to save a buck or two (as when the Padres sold off almost their whole starting lineup, or when the world champion Marlins did the same), but this isn't one of them. Sosa is being shopped so the Cubs can afford to replace one great player with a teamful of good ones. That makes good baseball sense and good economic sense in my book, and does the fans -- excepting those with a superficial interest in celebrity rather than a serious devotion to the game -- no disservice.

-- James Crossley

Allen Barra asked when the last time was that a legitimate superstar was harassed off of his team.

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Go back to 1977, and look at the way that the Mets treated Tom Seaver, before he finally gave up and asked out. I've been a Mets fan since 1962, but I've never quite gotten over that trade. I didn't attend another game until the previous ownership sold the team.

Yankee fans might want to hearken back to the way George Steinbrenner treated Dave Winfield.

-- Joe Raskin

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Allen Barra hit the nail on the head. In the annals of sport I don't think there is a team less worthy of fan devotion than the Cubs. Management demonizes a star like Sammy, but lionizes a mediocrity like Mark Grace. You would think they'd realize that road gate receipts will plummet without Sosa, as no one outside the demented confines of Chicago would pay to see those losers.

-- Steve Dowling

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Allen Barra asks "Why do fans as loyal and militant as Cubs fans take this from the team management?" Mr. Barra, you are obviously not from Chicago. Cubs fans aren't fans at all, they are frat boys and yuppies from all over the Midwest, charmed by the fun-in-the-sun revelry of Wrigley Field. They want to drink outdoors, sing "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" and pay zero attention to the game. They throw back opponents' home run balls out of habit and risk of bodily harm -- it has nothing to do with loyalty.

A good team at Wrigley Field would be a distraction to these WGN fans. The buzz and the tan are far more important than wins.

-- Dan Conley

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