The Northside Lounge
A Chicago Cubs blog with an occasional tangent on pop culture
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Thursday, February 16, 2006
For a seven-year period, Sammy Sosa was the biggest star the Cubs franchise has ever seen. The 1998 home run chase was arguably the most memorable baseball event in a generation or more, and the fact that it carried the Cubs to a postseason birth made it all the more satisfying. From 1998 Sosa's production remained at an All-Star level through 2003, a year which again found the Cubs in the postseason. Sosa hit just .188 in the NLDS but did manage six walks for a .409 OBP, then hit .308/.455/.577 in the NLCS.

If it had ended there, Sosa's place in the Cubs' pantheon would be secure. Instead, steroid rumors and grumbles about his attitude mounted as his production began to wane. He was finally shipped to Baltimore last season, whereupon his production fell off a cliff (.671 OPS in 424 PA last year.)

Of course, you probably know all that. Tonight his agent is saying we've "seen Sosa in a baseball uniform for the last time." Opinions on Sosa range from extreme vitriol to warm appreciation. I tend toward the latter. I'm sure he didn't have the ideal team-first attitude, but that hardly makes him unique among star baseball players. I recognize there is a real chance he was using steroids for some or all of his time in baseball, but again that can also be said for hundreds of his peers. What is certain is that he was a huge contributor to two Cubs playoff teams including the best Cubs season in the last sixty years. He was directly responsible for most of the positive Cubs memories I've had since he joined the team, and I expect I'll always remember those moments fondly.

So here's to a few of the good times-
  • May 25, 1998- I'm at Turner Field for a precursor to his record-breaking June
  • September 13, 1998- Sammy ties and passes Maris in an 11-10 extra-inning win
  • September 28, 1998- Sosa goes 2-4 with two runs scored as Cubs capture wildcard playoff over SF
  • September 2, 2003- I'm at Wrigley as Sammy ends game two of the greatest series ever played
  • October 7, 2003- Sosa very nearly steals game one with two-out in the bottom of the ninth

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


These are the nicest of all possible words: Pitchers and catchers.

Its been a long cold winter. I've quit my job and lost my one true love, but the one constant through all the winters has been inept Cubs management and I'll be damned if that hasn't turned out to be true once again. There are a smorgasbord of reasons to think this edition of the Cubs will fare no better than the last ninety-seven, and yet... pitchers and catchers report today. Pitchers and catchers!

Most breaking news or analysis posts I do this year will be over at Gonfalon Cubs. I'll be posting Cubs thoughts of a more personal (read: anguished) nature here as well as the CBA Prediction Contest and any other random useless things that I feel like getting off my chest (it is, after all, a blog.) There may even be a Dennis sighting at some point during the year, although I make no promises.

In Mesa today, a bunch of guys are putting on spikes and garish spring training warmup gear. For a day at least, hope springs eternal. Go Cubs!

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