For years, Cubs fans have clamored to see Sammy Sosa return to Wrigley Field, where he was once the team’s most popular, most talented and most charismatic player. But Sosa has remained in exile for 13 years, and it doesn’t appear that will end anytime soon.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs are closing the door on a reunion with Sosa in the wake of the former outfielder’s bizarre interview with former media relations staffer Chuck Wasserstrom, in which he compared himself to Jesus Christ.
There are two portions of that interview that have people in the Cubs’ orbit befuddled, according to the Tribune. The first is the Jesus part:
Chuck: Does it bother you that people continue to say you did something … and there’s no proof you did something … and there’s nothing you can do to disprove them? Do you feel you’ve been found guilty without any evidence?
Sammy: “Chuck, it’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem. Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) – and he was our savior. So if they talk (poop) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
And the second had to do with his exile itself, as well as the beloved Ernie Banks.
Chuck: Wrigley Field … it’s not the same ballpark you played in after all the remodeling that has taken place. Would you like to go back to see what it looks like now?
Sammy: “Hey, if they send me an invitation, then I would definitely say ‘Yes.’ This is my house – no matter what happened (at the end). My numbers – nobody is going to take them from me. Not even Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, hit that many home runs. And I did it with style (laughing). But if they invite me, why not? One day, if they invite me, a lot of people will be very happy about it.”
According to the Tribune, the Cubs were peeved about Sosa’s comments and will now stop talking about him. In the past, owner Tom Ricketts and others have made vague statements about hoping to reunite with Sosa at some undetermined future point.
If Sosa ever did return to Wrigley Field, the reaction would be incredible. Cubs fans always loved that guy, and you’ve got to imagine enough time has passed for them to forget any transgressions. But for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the team isn’t onboard.
It seems unlikely that the Cubs’ reticence to welcome back Sosa is all about steroid allegations against him. In 2015, the Cubs brought on Manny Ramirez, who twice test positive for PEDs, as an instructor in their organization. Meanwhile, most of baseball seems to have forgiven Sosa’s steroid-era peers: Mark McGwire is coaching in his third organization, and Barry Bonds served as Marlins hitting coach in 2016.
Sosa seems to be the only guy whose former team hasn’t welcomed him back. And that apparently won’t be changing now.