02.25.05

Dusty, Cubs, Continue To Obsess Over Sammy

Posted in Baseball at 12:30 pm by

When you consider the way some of these squabbles sprial out of control, perhaps the occasional “no comment” here and there wouldn’t be the worst thing on earth. From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullvan :

Cubs manager Dusty Baker believes Sosa was conjuring up some revisionist history Wednesday when he told reporters in Ft. Lauderdale that he walked out on the final game last season because Baker had given him the day off.

“Sammy’s gone,” Baker said. “But at least you should be able to tell the truth about things.”

Sosa maintained his final-day walkout came only after Baker had told him he was off. Baker said former assistant trainer Sandy Krum served as the go-between, telling Baker the day before the final game that Sosa was feeling a little nicked up and wanted out of the lineup for the finale.

“Actually, [Krum] came in the night before and told me that he said he wanted off,” Baker said. “I said [to Krum], ‘Fine. If that’s how he wants it, if you don’t want to play, I’ll play [Jason] Dubois.’ ¦ I didn’t give him the day off”he asked for it. Again, it’s a matter of who you believe.”

Baker reiterated he never gave Sosa permission to leave the ballpark. He expected Sosa to be on the bench with the rest of the position players who weren’t in the starting lineup.

“Where I come from, that’s what [a day off] means,” Baker said.

Sosa refused to confirm to reporters in Florida that Baker had called him after the trade, leaving the impression he hadn’t.

“He insinuated he didn’t call me in Milwaukee either,” Baker said, referring to the late-night phone call Aug. 17 in which Sosa allegedly volunteered to be dropped in the batting order. “Yeah, we spoke on the phone. I wouldn’t say we’d spoken if we didn’t. It depends on who you believe.”

Sosa also said his new manager, Lee Mazzilli, whom he has met with twice, is the first one he has had who has dealt with him honestly, implying Baker, Don Baylor, Jim Riggleman and many others for whom he has played didn’t do so.

“He said the same thing about me when I got here,” Baker said. “And when Baylor got here.”

Baker was more than perturbed by the inference he hasn’t been honest with Sosa. Over the winter, Sosa complained that Baker “embarrassed” him by dropping him in the order. Baker maintains Sosa not only asked him to drop him during their late-night phone call in Milwaukee but also asked him to tell reporters it was Sosa’s idea.

“If you talk to most people who know me, they’ll tell you I’m too honest,” Baker said. “So [the Sosa accusations] are contradictory to my personality.”

Cubs players who were asked about Sosa’s comments were hesitant to criticize him. Most believe reporters misinformed Sosa during questioning, leading him to believe players were saying the team is better off without him.

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