The 30th annual Cubs Convention begins this week, and is once again sold out. The yearly event brings current and former Cubs players together in an opportunity for fans and media to jump-start their baseball season. This year brings an entirely different fervor, as fans will flock to Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon, new staff ace Jon Lester and several other of the new additions to the highly-anticipated version of the Cubs.
As usual, some of the greats from the past will be in attendance, including several members of the 2007-08 teams, the last two to make the playoffs. Ted Lilly, Jon Lieber, Mark DeRosa, Bob Howry and Jacque Jones are all scheduled to be in attendance.
One former Cubs right fielder that will once again be absent from the convention is Sammy Sosa.
It’s hard to tell exactly where the fallout occurred. If it was the infamous corked bat incident, the PED’s, or Sosa leaving the final game early – which led to his radio being smashed in the clubhouse by another player – or all of the above.
It’s difficult to know exactly where I stand on Sosa, as his home run chase with Mark McGwire reignited my passion for baseball after the strike turned me away for several years prior. But I couldn’t help but tune in to watch those two go toe-to-toe that season. It was an amazing experience that I won’t ever forget, regardless of their link to steroids. But it’s impossible to ignore the impact of how he did it. By cheating the game.
The Ricketts family has publicly said they would like try to repair the damage that was done, but it would require Sosa to mend relationships with former teammates before he could attend. Who those teammates are and what he needs to say to repair them is unknown, but he clearly hasn’t reached out to them as of yet.
And it’s doubtful he’s been busy working on his Hall of Fame induction speech, as his support – which was minimal – fell again, as he barely received enough to remain on next year’s ballot.
It’s time for him to swallow his pride and make amends. While Sosa will never be part of the Hall of Fame, he still has his place in Chicago Cubs history, no matter how clouded it may be.