The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sosa’s return to Rangers may prove better than last stay

By Chris Cates/sports editor

I guess the Rangers missed the boat a little, tiny bit with Sammy Sosa. You see, of Sammy’s 588 career home runs, just one—his very first—came with the Texas Rangers. Apparently, they didn’t see the other 587 coming.

I’m not saying I like the guy. From the corked bat to the steroid use (or lack thereof if you ask Sammy), the man can only be labeled as a cheater. He can deny it all he wants, but you don’t accidentally cork a bat. You don’t go from the stick figure that played for the Rangers in ’89 to the Incredible Hulk who played for the Cubs in 1998 simply because of the process of aging. And all cheating aside, there’s the whole deal about his leaving the stadium before the team’s final game was even over … then saying he didn’t … only to find out they had video of him leaving in his car.

Having said all that, though, one look at last year’s version of Frank Thomas makes a Sosa return worth the Rangers’ while. Thomas was signed to the exact same contract as Sosa (one year, $500,000) and proceeded to hit 39 home runs and pile up 114 runs batted in for the Oakland A’s. According to the Blue Jays, who signed Thomas this off-season, the A’s paid half a million dollars for $9 million worth of production (Toronto signed Thomas to a two-year, $18 million contract).

If Sosa makes the Rangers’ roster once spring training is over, he gets $500,000 for one year. So worst-case scenario, he doesn’t pan out and the team wasted half a million dollars. I don’t think it would quite spell the end of the world.

But let’s say it works out. Let’s say he’s the second coming of Frank Thomas. The Rangers have paid half a million dollars (with a total of about $2 million possible in incentives) for multi-millions worth of production. The reward so far outweighs the risk. There’s no way anyone in his right mind could disagree with this move—that is, anyone who doesn’t still hold a grudge from 1989.

But grudge-holders aside, no matter how much one dislikes Sammy Sosa (you won’t find many that dislike him more than I do), value doesn’t lie. And this is the definition of good value; when no-name bench players make more than you, any production given that surpasses end-of-the-line bench statistics is added value. Very low potential risk, very high potential reward—thy name is Sammy Sosa.

Let us not forget, also, that Sammy is 12 home runs away from the milestone of 600. And however tarnished that number (and home run numbers in general) may be these days, it will draw crowds. So all production aside, the simple fact that Sosa is on the team could drive up ticket sales. And no matter what the front office tells you, that’s a big deal. Anyone who’s a Rangers fan will remember Rafael Palmeiro’s pursuit of 500. No matter how you slice it, home runs are a big deal when it comes to attendance.

So before you jump all over the Rangers for signing a fraud like Sammy Sosa, think about how little it would hurt if he failed. Think about Frank Thomas. Think about the ticket sales. And while you’re at it, think about going to buy yourself a throwback Sammy Sosa jersey … and about how easy it would be to change the name on the back of the jersey to So-so or So Sorry in case of struggles.

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