The Sammy Sosa Era ??? I Want Answers From Andy MacPhail ….

June 17, 2009 |

Have you ever awakened in the morning and a crystal clear thought hits you like a freaking bus?

If so, consider this morning one of those sobering situations …..

For all the good he’s done as President of the Baltimore Orioles, Andy MacPhail owes us some answers – from the final years of his stead in the same role with the Chicago Cubs. Uh-huh, those CHICAGO CUBS.

You can forget the rebuilding of the Orioles’ minor league system – albeit, an amazing two year turnaround …..

You can also forget swindling the Houston Astros out of Luke Scott and Troy Patton, for the eroding skills of Miguel Tejada …..

And, lastly, you can forget the GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY of this young 21st century, when Adam Jones, George Sherrill and Chris Tillman were landed for the grand price of Erik Bedard …..

While Andy MacPhail has arguably done a superb job with the hand he was dealt on June 20, 2007, he now has some questions to answer regarding our beloved Orioles – but from a time before he joined the team.

The reason ???

Sammy Sosa

That’s right, the Sammy Sosa who arrived in Baltimore, for a February, 2005, press conference, while doing his best impersonation of a slimmed-down Jared Fogle, from Subway. Look at Sosa, in 2003, and then look at him during those early days, in Baltimore, just a couple years later.

Yep, and it’s the same Sammy Sosa who essentially began a steady regression in production, starting in 2002. In the span of 3 seasons, Sosa went from hitting .328 with 64 bombs, to .258 with 35 homers. And, in the second half of 2004, Sosa actually hit .233, before walking out on his team in late September.

As we all know, Slammin’ Sammy followed up his lackluster 2004 season by bottoming out with a .221 clip and just 14 homeruns. But, the real insult? He did it in a Baltimore Orioles uniform.

We remember that stint, huh?

And, take a wild guess of who delivered Sammy Sosa to the Orioles’ doorstep? BINGO ….. it was Andy MacPhail. As President of the Chicago Cubs, MacPhail oversaw the trade of Sosa to the Orioles for the equivalent of a couple Papa Johns pizzas and a 2-liter bottle of Coke.

Yeah, Sosa might’ve worn out his welcome in the confines of Wrigley, but who trades away a guy coming off a 35 homer campaign – with 238 total dingers, in the 5 years prior to the trade, for virtually NOTHING ???

On the day Sammy Sosa was traded to the Orioles, he was averaging 48 homeruns, per season, in those 5 years before the deal. Yet, he comes here and has his worst season in 13 years. And, it was so strikingly poor, when compared to the dozen prior seasons.

What necessitated the sudden deal to the Orioles? Why were Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry so bent on dealing Sosa? Regardless of his relationship with Dusty Baker and other members of management, Sosa was a producer. Why trade him for players who don’t come close to equating his contributions?

Perhaps, we got a peek into the real reason, yesterday …..

As everyone knows, it’s been confirmed that Sammy Sosa failed a drug test, in 2003. Imagine that. Are you really surprised?

Now, let’s just cut to the significance of the blog …..

While we now know that Sammy Sosa was a steroid user when he sat in the warehouse and LIED to everyone about his aspirations and dedication, I’m wondering if anyone else, with connections to the deal, was less than forthright.

Yeah, you know where I’m going with this …..

Andy MacPhail owes us some answers.

What did he know when he traded a steroid user – and a guy who failed a drug test – to the Baltimore Orioles? Indeed, those tests were confidential, but everyone has sources, right?

Andy MacPhail needs to be grilled on this. Who’s gonna do it, Rick Dempsey? Jim Hunter? Buck Martinez? Please …..

We all know how such a conversation will go ……

Jim Hunter – “Andy did you know Sammy Sosa failed a drug test, in 2003?”

Andy MacPhail – “Nope.”

Rick Dempsey – “Andy did you suspect Sammy Sosa was using steroids?”

Andy MacPhail – “Nope.”

Jim Hunter & Rick Dempsey – “Well that concludes our interview with Andy MacPhail, back to the guys in the booth.”

We all know Andy MacPhail won’t consent to interviews with anyone other than the MASN-Talking Heads. Or, he might get daring and do a couple minutes with the orange kool-aid drinkers, at CBS Radio.

But, you can bet on THIS ….. Andy MacPhail will never sit before Bryant Gumbel, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Rick Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Nestor Aparicio, Steve Davis, Drew Forrester, David Steele, Bob Haynie, Rick Maese or countless others who wouldn’t simply settle for “NOPE” as an answer.

The sad truth is this is probably as close as we’re gonna get to the real set of facts. Like it or not, we’re gonna be stuck with “NOPE” or something even more vague. Sure, Andy MacPhail and those in his circle will duck behind the “curtain of exclusivity” that’s shielded them whenever an outsider wants a few words.

But, know this ….. Andy MacPhail’s reputation is a little less stellar, this morning. At least as far as I’m concerned …..