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  . . Off Base

The Emperor Has
No Clothes

The dude is nude. Buck naked. Exposed for all to see.

Sammy Sosa, meet Pete Rose. Sammy, Pete. Pete, Sammy. Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Uma.

Fine, so Sosa's not as villainous as Rose, he's a pretty bad guy, a fake hero, and completely ruined. Done, toast, finito, with no chance of recovery. Sure, Cubs' fans still love him, but what do they know?

He'll probably make his way to Cooperstown someday, and maybe even on schedule, but perhaps not. Who knows, it's a democratic process. That'll take care of itself.

Unlike Albert Belle, who had too many to issues to think about one corked bat, Sosa will be branded by this one event forever. They'll be no recovering his good-guy image, nor can he switch midstream to some contrived bad-boy label ala Dennis Rodman.

And it's just so stupid. Sosa plays in the perfect park and the ideal city for what he does, never has to worry about a pennant race, and let's get real here, the guy's whole body is corked. He didn't need another edge. It wasn't worth it, Sam. Really, really lame…

Another year of interleague play and another round of debate. Whatever. Now even the debate is boring.

So, you've got your 1984 World Series rematch of losers, your '03 Series throwback, the battle of old Philadelphia, and someone named Mays pitching in San Francisco. The Orioles slash Browns return to St. Louis, the Chisox to Los Angeles, the Twins to somewhere in California other than Anaheim…uh, or L.A. or Oakland. Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.

I'll stick with my day-one prediction. The AL vs. the NL was to be neither a revolution nor, as Bob Costas would have you believe, the end of civilization as we know it. Like so many of Bud Selig's pet projects, this one's a dog. It just doesn't matter. Next…

June 3, 1989. Tiananmen Square, Los Angeles and Houston play 22, Stephanie and Michael get hitched.

I remember distinctly, pulling into the Beverly Hills Country Club, which was not in Beverly Hills and was not a country club, listening to the early part of the game between the then National League West rivals. I left the radio on so the valet guy could listen to a pitch or two while parking my car (a blue 1988 Honda Accord, license plate GO DGRS).

The evening was bliss. My friends got married, I didn't, and I danced with a girl named Libbie, or a man named Gibbel. That part's fuzzy.

What's clear is the rest. After the celebration, the valet returned my car, with the radio still on and ball game still being played. "Cool," I thought, "Extra innings, I didn't miss a game after all."

Drove directly home to my apartment in Santa Monica, which was an apartment and was in Santa Monica, tuned in, sat in front of the tube for what was the equivalent of a full game, and slept satisfied, even in defeat.

Third baseman Jeff Hamilton pitched a great 21st inning, throwing smoke and striking out two, only to lose in the 22nd. Those 35 doubles in 1988 notwithstanding, by far and away the highlight of his career.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Scott. I'm thinking of you…

Remember, glove conquers all....

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