Sammy Hears the Boo Birds

By Willie Cochran
Updated: August 8, 2007

Sammy SosaRutgers University, New Jersey—Sammy Sosa came back on Wednesday after his suspension from the corked bat fiasco. Some fans booed Sosa and some cheered their heads off for him to drain out the detractors.

The question is should Sosa even care about the cheers or boos?

First Sosa will be affected one way or another by the cheers or boos. Most athletes will attest to the affect that the crowd can have on your performance. For some, like Reggie Miller, the boos inspire him to do his best. When the crowd is against him then he will try to make them eat their words.

For others the boos can catch them off guard and have a negative affect on their play. The anti-American crowd in France visibly threw Serena Williams, for example at the French Open, off her game.

The cheers on the other hand could inspire Sosa to begin to break out of the slump that he has been mired in throughout the season.

After he came off the 15-day disabled list, from having a toenail removed, he got into a terrible slump that he hasn’t seen since his days with the Chicago White Sox. After being hit in the head earlier this year, there have whispers that he become gun-shy.

Before serving the corked bat suspension, Sosa was hitting a un-Sosa like, 290 batting average with 6 HR 27 RBI. He had 55 strikeouts and a .481 slugging percentage. His seasonal averages since 1995 had been 50 HR, 130 RBI, while slugging over .600 and hitting over .300. For Sosa to catch up to his seasonal averages he will really have to go on a hot streak for the rest of the season.

Hopefully for Sosa this hiatus has helped him regain his swing to old form.

Boos or cheers should not help or hurt him in his chances of regaining his swing. When he goes up to plate for the first time and hear a mixed crowd he should not be thinking of whether his legacy his tarnished or not, but he should be living in the moment for every at-bat. He should be thinking about how he is going to help the Cubs in any way possible.