Sammy Sosa: Why Didn't They Suspect Sooner?

I can’t understand why it took almost 500 homeruns before someone thought to check Sammy Sosa’s bat for being made of a cork core. Additionally, why aren’t bats weighed? Perhaps when a batter is “on-deck”, his bat should be weighed after he decided which bat he will be batting with. (And, are we to assume Mark MacGuire is so innocent?) - Jinx

You should look into the story more. His bat wasn’t “checked” for cork; someone noticed the cork in a bat that broke. Why does his 500 home runs relate to it? Should we be suspicious of anybody who succeeds? That doesn’t make sense to me.
In addition, I think “made of cork core” is a very inaccurate description. On top of all of that, his bats weren’t corked (all of the other 76 bats he had were clean, as were his 5 bats in the Hall of Fame), so it appears that if he cheated his way to 500 home runs, this isn’t how he did it.

Baseball assumes you are innocent until proven guilty. This time it just happened the bat splintered so the umpired looked. It isn’t as if they would have looked had he hit a home run and the bat not splintered.

As to why they didn’t check sooner: innocent until proven guilty and all that.

Why aren’t bats weighed? See above… innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, It is actually up to the other team to find cheaters, not the umpires. The ball isn’t checked after every pitch to see if it has been doctored. If a team bats out of order, the umpire says nothing until the other team says something. If a runner misses a base, the umpire says nothing unless the defense appeals. If a runner leaves a base too early on a fly out, again they are safe until the play is appealed. Too much pine tar? Well, that one is okay.

Assume what you will about McGuire’s bat. My assumption is he didn’t need to cork it. The andro was all he needed.

Cuz maybe he hadn’t done it sooner. :wink:

Yes the 76 bats they checked were clean. Are we sure that is all the bats Sammy has? Wouldn’t he hide his illegal bats from MLB?

Re: The 5 bats in the HOF. He would have been pretty foolish to have used a corked bat knowing it was going to the HOF.

I am not saying Sosa has always used a corked bat but I do not buy into his “batting practice/ for the fans” excuse. No fans are present at BP when Sammy hits.

Actually, I would think sending a corked bat would seem safe, since it’s very unlikely they’ll look at it closely (i.e., xray it), let alone saw it in half.

I tend to agree with NYR407.

Sosa’s claim seems to be it was ENTIRELY by accident. That would be 1/76. Broken bats are not a every game event for a particular batter, and discovering such a broken bat as doctored would be less than 100%.

Having such a bat at all must have a purpose–deception, whether in batting practice or a game. Cheating at one thing may indicate cheating at another.

If a person is caught DWI and he claims that’s the only time he had ever driven while drunk, I think it fair to at least suspect the claim as false.

You don’t know how long he had that bat, though. Conventional wisdom might be that he corked it in response to his massive post-DL slump. He improved thereafter.

Of course they are not checked when they arrive but he should have assumed that they would be if he ever got caught (if he was using a corked bats back then).

Sosa knew that certain home runs would be milestones (62, 500 etc) and MLB would want them for the HOF. Making sure they were legal bats would not have been hard for him.

Since the physics indicates that corking a bat has no appreciable effect on how far the ball goes, it’s highly unlikely any of his home runs were affected, even if he used cork every time.

You can’t just hide bats. Those were all he had.

Now it’s possible he would cork one bat each day an use just it (until it broke – and a corked bat is more likely to break. His explanation is a little fishy, I agree.

But with no evidence of other corked bats, it’s extremely likely he didn’t do this as a regular thing. Remember: no evidence is not evidence.

[aside] Why is it so bloody hard for people to spell Mark McGwire’s name right? [/aside]

As to why they didn’t suspect cork earlier… why would they? What indication had he ever given before that he was using an illegal bat? It’s not, after all, as if it actually does much for home run hitting.

I’d bet LARGE amounts of money that his bat was checked earlier. Dozens of times, even. Every time a bat breaks, and the catcher picks up a piece to toss to one of the bat boys, you can bet he takes a quick glance at it to see if there’s anything wrong with it. Same with the umpires. Especially if it’s Sammy Sosa’s bat: taking him out of the game would really help out the opposing team, so they give it a quick glance.

I’d estimate that Sammy has broken about 400 bats in his career, and that 200 of them have been looked at by another player or ump. The fact that he never got caught before indicates that none of those bats were likely corked, either.

Of course the evidence shows he didn’t cheat all the time, but that’s not the issue. Did he intentionally cheat THIS time? The answer is mostly an ink blot test. None of us can prove or disprove it, it’s just our judgment of the matter.

Reality Chuck, I saw an ESPN piece that said a corked bat goes 1% farther than a non corked bat. The distance is not substantial enough to justify using a corked bat.

However, I believe the reason they use the bat is because it has a reduced weight but maintains the density of a heavier bat.

Bat speed is crucial to a slugger like Sammy. Adding even a nanosecond to his swing can mean the difference between a pop up and a home run (hell even a line drive single).

Re: Hiding bats. Are you saying there is no way Sammy could have hidden his bats?

This is a slap in the face of both Sammy and MLB. The last thing they want is for a “hero” to be dethroned after all the slack baseball has gotten from Endro to Strikes (union).

I still believe they have a juiced ball but all of MLB reports indicate there is no difference.

All I am saying is that MLB is working in their best interest. Not that of the public but that of their wallets.

According to a (former? I don’t remember) equipment manager for the Rangers, the Ballpark in Arlington has an x-ray machine. He would sometimes snag suspicious bats clandestinely and check them for cork/hollowed out middles/etc. I don’t doubt that other clubs have similar procedures.

The league may not be particularly interested in catching cheaters. But an individual team is most interested in winning, and if they can get a good player ejected/suspended, that’s to their advantage.

Best guess (IMHO) is that Sosa had been using that bat for only a few days. Of course, only he knows for sure …

How about Sosa’s unprecedented performance in the first rounds of the 2002 Home Run Derby?

I suppose most interesting for the purposes of this discussion, Sosa’s home run streak dried up in the final round of the Derby. Then he changed bats and managed to get one last one out of the park.

There were other mitigating factors–for example, the retractable roof was closed due to approaching thunderstorms. But has anyone asked Sosa if he was using a corked bat at any part of that show?

And I’m intrigued by RealityChuck’s assertion that corked bats don’t affect a ball’s distance. Genuine question: If distance isn’t a factor, what is the purpose of corking a bat, then?

What many of the talking heads have said is that it offers a psychological aid to the batter more than anything else. Players are often superstitious and want to get any advantage they possibly can. If they think they can get away with it, they’ll cork one just to make them feel that they’re improving their play.

I have to agree. Sure, Sosa says that he only used the corked bat for practice, but why did he have a corked bat in the first place? :dubious:

Ever been to a baseball game? I assume the answer is no since it is quite possible for fans to arrive early enough to see batting practice.

The OP for this thread might as well say “I can’t understand why it took almost 300 wins for someone to check Roger Clemens for use of a spitball.” Just because someone exceeds at a task doesn’t mean we should assume they cheated to get there. Rather, it should be assume that the player is that good until confronted with strong evidence to the contrary.

One corked bat does not strong evidence make. It is the sign of an idiotic idea, but not of numbers tainted by deception.

You apparently don’t understand probablitiy. Sosa’s defense was that is was pure chance. The fewer cocked bats he had, the less likely it was for him to randomly use it.