Despite saying in a recent interview he’d absolutely return to Wrigley if invited, Sammy Sosa may have actually caused the Cubs to put a new ice pack on what was already a cold shoulder. The team isn’t speaking on the matter, but sources have told the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan that club executives are more steadfast than ever in their desire to keep Sosa at arm’s length.
The whole thing about likening himself to Jesus Christ probably didn’t help, though I’d guess him saying “They know where they can find me. They’re in their way…” was the final nail in the, uh, coffin. Well, that and speaking about the matter with a former Cubs employee rather than address it with current ownership behind the door they’ve shut in his face a few times over the years.
I can’t pretend to know exactly what’s being said or thought at the upper echelons of the organization, but it seems to me that this is more a matter of the folks at the top just being tired of talking about Sosa. It’s a topic that inevitably comes up every year at Cubs Convention and any time there’s a celebration of the team’s history.
Maybe I’m thinking too much about the matter, but this feels more like a choice to remain silent in order to minimize any further exposure of the subject. Which may not be working all that well, given that I’m now writing about what the team is not saying. Huh.
So while Sullivan indicates that “the door quietly has been slammed shut on Sosa, once and for all,” I remain skeptical of the purported stubbornness of the team’s stance. Tom Ricketts is, after all, a businessman who knows an opportunity when he sees one. For him to continue to categorically exile Sosa is akin to cutting off his nose just to spite his face.
Then again, it’s not as if the Cubs need to manufacture any goodwill at this point. They’ve got such a surplus of warm fuzzies from 2016 that dealing with Sosa has lost any sense of urgency. If the needle has been pegged, they may be reasoning, there’s no point in trying to move it any further. And it’s entirely possible that kissing and making up might actually detract from all the momentum the organization has established.
For every fan who’d love to see the embattled slugger return, there’s at least one more hoping he stays away for good. If the comments I’ve gotten recently are any indication, the sentiment against bringing him back may be even stronger than that for making amends.
So does it eventually happen? Maybe, just don’t expect to hear anything about it from the Cubs. Not until next year’s Convention, anyway.