Sammy Sosa had a chance to repair his reputation in ‘Long Gone Summer’, but a comment about Ken Griffey, Jr. could backfire.
ESPN’s Long Gone Summer gave us a glimpse at the rare heights baseball can reach as our nation’s true pastime, despite the pitfall it currently finds itself in. While players did use unnatural means to boost their power numbers — most notably the protagonists in Sunday night’s documentary, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire — there is no greater, purposely forgotten period in recent sports history that encapsulates everything MLB should aim for, at least in terms of marketing potential, than the summer of ’98.
Sosa and McGwire have been shunned for over a decade since both left the game as shriveled examples of what they once were. The former doesn’t seem to fully understand the difference between he and those who, by most accounts, reached career pinnacles the right way.
Sammy Sosa comparing himself to Ken Griffey, Jr. is simply outrageous
Griffey has remained on the sidelines for most of this debate, letting others step in to defend him when applicable. The former Mariners and Reds legend had one of the sweeter swings in baseball history, delivering one clear swoop through the strike zone resembling the Hammer of Thor, covering every inch of a ruleset meant to be used against him.
Sosa, meanwhile, needed a little help.
Griffey, Cal Ripken, and the like are often unfairly placed in an era abound with cheaters of the game. Sosa, meanwhile, remains on the forgiveness tour, begging to be allowed back in to Wrigley Field as a guest of honor. To view this current dichotomy from Sosa’s perspective, and still attribute any of his accomplishments as an act of God, suggests he has yet to take any real responsibility for his actions.
Sosa and McGwire were far from the only players — or owners, for that matter — to profit from the steroid era. But as one of the premiere faces of a tainted time, Sosa’s lack of remorse and continued self-comparisons to the game’s greats are an insult to all of us.