June 9, 2003
Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa is due to appeal his eight game suspension for using a corked bat in a game on June 3. Sosa already admitted that "it was a mistake and I take the blame for it." His excuse suggests he did not knowingly use the illegal bat. Major League Baseball issued the suspension a few days later after testing a number of the slugger's bats. No other bats had cork in them, according to news reports.
The eight game suspension does not include a monetary penalty and Sosa will continue to receive his salary (approximately $98,000 per game.) The
penalty is consistent with the last four players caught using an illegal bat during a game*. Nevertheless, a current and a former professional ballplayer said the attention and penalty Sosa was receiving had racist roots. Former player Jose Canseco said he was
[V]ery disappointed in the media, the way they're attacking Sammy Sosa. The way they're portraying him because he's a Latin, Black athlete is completely wrong. I guarantee you if this were Mark McGwire or Cal Ripken Jr., a so-called 'protected athlete' an 'All-American' name, this would have never happened because I've seen things that some players have done, and they are white players and they're completely covered up. If he were a white superstar player, this would never, never happen
Current Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez also said he thought there were racist undertones in the way the Sosa affair was being handled and reported.
Sammy Sosa has been very good for baseball. In recognition of that factor we recommend the suspension should be reduced to seven games.
Official Baseball Rules
(a) The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood. NOTE: No laminated or experimental bats shall be used in a professional game (either championship season or exhibition games) until the manufacturer has secured approval from the Rules Committee of his design and methods of manufacture. (b) Cupped Bats. An indentation in the end of the bat up to one inch in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substance added. (c) The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance, which extends past the 18 inch limitation, shall cause the bat to be removed from the game. NOTE: If the umpire discovers that the bat does not conform to (c) above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game. (d) No colored bat may be used in a professional game unless approved by the Rules Committee.
*Other Cork Bat Offenders: Wilton Guerrero (6/1/1997), 8 game suspension; Chris Sabo (7/30/96), 7 games; Albert Belle (7/17/94), 10 games; Billy Hatcher (9/2/87), 10 games.
A batter is out for illegal action when […] (d) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire's judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc. No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand. In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League President.
Cosmic Season Restart
May 2, 2003
The 2003 Cosmic Baseball Season restarted yesterday as all 24 Cosmic Baseball Association teams took to the various cosmic playing fields. There have been no games since March 20 when the season was suspended because of the war between the United States and the Republic of Iraq. |
The full 162-game season will be played. The season will end October 23, one month later than originally scheduled. The Subleague Series will begin November 1 and the Cosmic Universal Series will commence, as scheduled, on Thanksgiving Day.