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Sammy Sosa -vs- Cork

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Sammy Sosa -vs- Cork

Who's better, Sammy Sosa or Cork?

Sammy Sosa
Current Results

CHICAGO (AP) - June 3, 2003 - Once Sammy Sosa was caught using a corked bat, there was one big question:  Was he cheating when he hit any of those 505 home runs?

The Chicago Cubs' star slugger, 17th on the career home-run list, was ejected in the first inning of Tuesday night 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after umpires found cork in his shattered bat.

"I use that bat for batting practice," Sosa said.  "It's something that I take the blame for.  It's a mistake, I know that.  I feel sorry.  I just apologize to everybody that are embarassed."

Sosa apologized to fans, his teammates, and the commissioner of baseball.  His bats were confiscated by security personnel.

The Cubs had runners at second and third when Sosa broke his bat with a grounder to second that at first appeared to drive in a run.

But crew chief Tim McClelland gathered with the other three umpires to examine the bat.  Cubs manager Dusty Baker cam out and the umpires showed the bat to him.

Mark Grudzielanek was sent back to third base, the run was wiped off the board, and Sosa was ejected as he stood in the dugout.


How Do Players Cork Bats?
Little leaguers out there, please don't try this at home. I'm just being a journalist here, not condoning cork. ... Players simply modify the bat by drilling a hole and replacing the wood with another substance -- usually cork.

Why Do They Cork Bats?
If you've ever fingered a flat-headed thumb tack, or muscled a handle-headed push pin into a cork bulletin board, you've probably noticed that the material, cork, is soft and spongy. A hard bat isn't as resilient as a rod of cork. A ball bouncing on cork might rebound more robustly than one knocking on wood. A cork-lined bat might also be a lighter weight, which would make its swing speed a lot faster than that of a heavy, old, wooden shaft.

Some differ in opinion ... The Chicago Tribune reported recently that physicists feel that a doctored bat isn't likely to result in more home runs, although it might help a slumping hitter connect more often. With a lighter bat, a player might be able to swing faster, and thus have an extra split second to judge a 90-m.p.h. fastball. But when wood is removed and replaced with a lighter substance, such as cork, sawdust or rubber, a hitter's power is actually diminished. The ball jumps off the bat with less energy and generally doesn't travel as far.