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Cubs Save End of Season Fire for Off the Field

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 6, 2004 2:34PM

2004_10_sports_sosa_jersey.jpgThe Cubs sure went out quietly, losing 7 of 9 to close out the season and missing out on making the playoffs. But the Cubs have sure made a lot of noise off the field. Everybody seems to be feuding, blaming others for the team's failures.

Manager Dusty Baker had some harsh words for slugger Sammy Sosa -- who asked out of the lineup on for the last day, didn't dress in uniform or join the team in the dugout, then vacated Wrigley before the game ended.

"I didn't know he was going to leave," Baker said. "No, I didn't give him permission. I don't know why. It is what it is."

General manager Jim Hendry also was not pleased, "Even if he wasn't playing, obviously he should have been here with his teammates."

God forbid, somebody making over $100,000 a GAME actually stay at the park for the game let alone play in the last game of the season. Like he can't rest his ailments all winter? Where's the leadership? Where's the appreciation of the fans?

In response to the criticism from Baker, Sammy countered, "I'm tired of being blamed by Dusty Baker for all the failures of this club. I'm always the guy they are going to blame. They blame me for not going to the World Series last year. They blame me for not going to the playoffs this year. I'm tired of it."

Um... didn't they mostly blame Steve Bartman last year?

So Chicago will have to wait and see whether Baker and Sosa can kiss and make up, or whether Sosa's bought himself a one-way ticket out of town.


And the feuds weren't limited to the clubhouse. The broadcast booth was just as wild. Baker and Steve Stone feuded over Stone's on-air criticism of Baker, leading to a Saturday pre-game meeting with Stone, Baker and Hendry. Stone has drawn the ire of Cubs coaches and players all season, though management contends his job is not in jeopardy.

Which is probably a good thing for WGN, who still need to find a new TV announcer following Chip Caray's departure. The Atlanta Braves made him an offer to join their TV crew, and the Cubs decided not to make a counter offer. By joining the Braves, however, Caray is reunited with his father, long-time Braves announcer Skip Caray. And the move also gets him closer to his Orlando home. So even had the Cubs made an offer, Caray probably would have left the Wrigley press box he joined in 1998 with the intention of working games with his legendary grandfather Harry Caray.

Sure is going to be an interesting off-season. Should Sosa stay or go? Who will replace Chip Caray? Should Steve Stone be sent packing, as well?