MESA, ARIZONA -- I come to you today live from HoHoKam Park, better known as Wrigley West. It's the little ballpark here where the Chicago Cubs hibernate in the winter. The quaint joint is littered with retirees with bald heads, beer bellies and baseball scorebooks. There are as many walkers in the stands as walks on the field. But it's 75 degrees and sunny. It's sold out. It's baseball. Who can complain?
The guy who played 14 years for the Cubs and is now trying to resurrect his Hall of Fame career as a Ranger was actually booed his first two at-bats. He grounded out in the first inning and had an infield hit in the third of a game Texas currently trails, 4-3. Maybe the transplanted fans have forgotten Sosa's 66-homer season in '98, when he and Mark McGwire rejuvenated baseball four years after a labor impasse canceled the World Series. Or perhaps they just remember how Sosa's Chicago career ended.
In his final season Sosa was dogged by steroid questions, got caught using a corked bat and lied about leaving Wrigley early during the '04 season finale. Sosa's been on his best behavior in spring training, but fans and even writers from Chicago caution that it's just a matter of time before Sammy totally alienates teammates with his ego and selfishness. "There are a lot of fans in Chicago who still love me," Sosa said before the game. "Probably some they don't love me so much too." --Richie Whitt