Chicago Cubs: Cool off, Sammy
Followup research from scientists puts into question whether a corked bat makes a ball go further with one researcher noting the advantage of a corked bat is mostly a psychological one. Others say that a faster swing (that corking a bat encourages) allows players to put the ball in play at a higher rate and avoid those pesky strikeouts rather than adding distance to well-struck balls.
Of course, regardless if corked bats offer an advantage in the long ball department or not, MLB doesn’t allow hitters to use corked bats. So Sammy did cheat either way.
After examining the shattered bat and seeing the cork where wood should have been, the umpire crew ejected Sosa. He received an eight-game suspension for the incident.
Which brings us to the million-dollar question: did he do it on purpose?
Sosa immediately admitted to using the corked bat (which he kind of had to since the evidence was right there). But, he said it was an accident per a 2003 article from the New York Times:
"‘I just want to say that I first want to apologize to my teammates, the fans, and the commissioner of Major League Baseball. What happened today was something that wasn’t meant to have happened. I took the wrong bat and I went up there and it happened. It’s a bat I used for batting practice. It’s a mistake. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I guarantee to you, I never used anything illegal. I feel bad and I take the blame for it, and I have to move on.”"
Sosa said that he used corked bats in batting practice to put on a show for the Wrigley Field faithful. He had unknowingly grabbed a batting practice bat for an in-game plate appearance.
Sosa’s manager Dusty Baker, General Manager Jim Hendry, and his teammates came to his defense.