ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski seems to be gunning for the crown of "World's Bitterest Old White Dude," a title held since time immemorial by one Jonathon Edward "Skip" Bayless of Cold Pizza, a show which, I kid you not, is still on the air. (By the way, that non-traditional spelling of "Jonathon" is, according to Wikipedia, sic
The targets of his last two posts? None other than every 55 year-old sportswriter's favorite fish in a barrel, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds. Now, I'm aware of all of the negative things one can say about these guys. Mostly because they've been repeated ad nauseam by every low-level internet sports columnist with a sufficient level of misplaced indignation. Guys. We get it. You don't like Bonds and Sosa. You think they are selfish, morally questionable, egocentric millionaires who have the audacity to be better than David Eckstein. Can we move on now? Apparently not.
Part 1: Sammy Sosa's Love For the Game
In his Feb. 17th
column, GW writes that he, for one, doesn't believe Sosa's agent's claims that Sammy is likely retired. He writes: Sosa, who is less accessible these days than Dick Cheney, could have signed a non-guaranteed $500,000 deal with the Washington Nationals, but decided to take a pass. Katz said the decision "was not a money issue," which means it had everything to do with the Benjamins. Whenever anyone in sports says it's not about the money ... it's about the money.
First of all, great reference. Both topical and hilarious. Secondly, GW, your point here is a little bit murky. You say it's about the money, but doesn't Sammy's choice to retire prove that, in fact, it's not about the money? Meaning, since he already has millions, is there really a need for him to go out there and play for any amount of money with a body that seems to be breaking down more and more every day? You'll probably say "He should do it for the love of the game," but if I'm Sammy Sosa, the game's probably not all that fun when you're in constant pain and there are funny-named sportswriters out there attacking you for retiring from baseball. Also, as to your last sentence, you must have known when you wrote it that it is patently untrue/dumb. A man named Tony Gwynn comes to mind. Also Curt Schilling. And also, ironically, Barry Bonds. I know Sosa well enough to know he is a man of immense pride and ego. That pride and ego is why Sosa pouted when Dusty Baker had no choice but to drop him in the Chicago Cubs batting order during the 2004 season. It's why he ditched the Cubs on the final day of the '04 season -- and then lied about it. It's why you probably could steam a clam on Sosa's forehead these days.
"Steam a clam on Sosa's forehead?" Really? You're gonna go with that? Okay, man, good luck. Anyway, yes, Sammy Sosa, does have a huge ego. You would too if you knew that you were one of the five greatest home run hitters of all time. And you'd probably be a little pissed off to be having as un-Sosa-like of a season as he did in 2004 (and 2005, for that matter). And also, it doesn't take a huge ego to not get along with Dusty Baker, a crazy person.There are rumors the New York Yankees might stick their pinstripes in the Sosa waters. If that happens, alert FEMA for disaster relief. Can you imagine how fast Yankees fans will turn on Sosa after a few O-fers?
Ha ha ha ha ha! A FEMA joke! Classic! Do one about Judge Ito! No, wait...Lewinsky, dude! Do a Lewinsky joke! Oh, man! FEMA! So true...so true...
There are no guarantees in sports, which is why Katz's remarks about Sosa's refusing to subject himself to the "possibility" of another 2005-like season are almost laughable.
You say 37 year-old millionaire Sammy Sosa should accept an almost minimum value non-guaranteed contract coming off a year in which he missed 60 games due to injuries, injuries which could allow a non-guaranteed contract to be voided at any time. I say, what is laughable about walking away from that?
Baseball is a game predicated on failure. If Sosa has doubts -- and Katz said he does -- then the $500,000 Nationals offer was too generous.
Wait, so now the Nationals shouldn't have offered the contract in the first place? Where is this going?
Sosa should have taken the Nationals' deal and, in the process, taken a chance on himself. He could have shown he wasn't about the money, or pride, or ego. He could have played for something as innocent as his self-proclaimed love of the game.
You're right, Wojo. All you players out there, take heed. Next time your deals are up, calculate your Love For The Game (LFTG) and value your contracts accordingly. (Hint: it will be somewhere around $500,000 non-guaranteed)
But as usual, he does the E-Sosa thing. He doesn't understand there is no dishonor in trying and failing. The dishonor comes when you don't try at all.
I just re-read the article. Nowhere did I find a reference to this "E-Sosa thing," or what that could possibly mean. I honestly have no idea. Does he mean E like, an error? Or like, Electronic-Sosa? BTW: e-sosa.com seems to be owned by Sosa Fashion (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd. esosa.com seems to be held by a text advertising company. I think we could probably buy it.
Part 2: Guess who doesn't like Barry Bonds? So Barry Bonds is going to hang up his cleats and violin after this season, eh? Good for him. Good for us.
Who is "us?" Is it the fans? Because most of the fans I know want Barry Bonds to break as many records as possible. And yes, we all know he's a jerk. And yes, the steroids, blah blah blah. I don't care. He's the best baseball player we will probably ever see. So does "us" mean sportswriters? Because it seems like Bonds is a fucking gift from the gods for you dudes. You finally have a guy you can rip for just about anything at any time. What else would you be writing your column about, Gene? There hasn't been any Scott Podsednik news lately for you guys to jizz your pants over. (Although I did hear while on vacation in Bermuda, he scrappily legged out a 12 yard TD run in a pickup beach-football game. What a gamer!) Also, what happened to the "Dishonor comes when you don't try at all" from your last column? Is that Sosa (or E-Sosa) specific? Bonds told USA Today on Sunday that he will retire at season's end, which must be why the birds are chirping a little louder, the sun is shining a little brighter, and the beer on tap tastes a little colder. This is like the Wicked Witch of the West throwing a bucket of water on herself.
Does Barry Bonds really affect your life this much,
Gene Wojciechowski? If so, I strongly recommend counseling. Or go play with your kids or something, dude. No one is holding a Jugs Gun to his head and telling him to play in 2006. If he's so tired of it all, so desperate to be forgotten, so embarrassed to wear a big league uni, then retire now. And don't let the clubhouse door hit you on the way out.
Barry Bonds is extremely close to passing Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. He is not going to retire now. If I were him, I would play simply to stick it in the face of guys like GW and Mike Celizic and J.E. Bayless. Seriously. That alone would be motivation enough for me.He trivialized the first-ever Classic, saying, "Come on, the World Cup isn't the Olympics. Who cares? Does it mean anything?"
Not in BarryWorld, it doesn't.
Umm, Gene, it doesn't mean anything. It is a marketing ploy. I'm very excited about it, don't get me wrong. It will be better than spring training. But I'm not exactly swelling with national pride about it, especially considering that many of the best players will not be playing. And this BarryWorld sounds interesting. Is it just Barry Bonds World, or are other Barrys represented? Gibb? Switzer? Manilow? Marion Barry? How does Barry Greenstein feel about the WBC?
Postscript: My favorite thing about articles like this is the not-even-thinly-veiled bitterness about them. Sammy Sosa should play for $500,000! I get paid less and I'm a sportswriter for ESPN-dot-frigging-com! Barry Bonds should take all of our abuse because he's a millionaire and he probably did steroids! He should simply love that every week we manufacture enough outrage to attack him personally in our columns!
Post-postscript: I have enlisted a venture capital firm for the first round of financing for esosa.com. Right now, we have approx. $15 million US and about 20,000 sq. feet of office space in the greater Palo Alto area. I encourage all of you to invest, as this will surely be the greatest website in the history of the universe, especially once we figure out what it will do.