|Wednesday, June 11
Supporters rally around Sosa
ESPN.com news services
Former president Bill Clinton told Sosa to hang in there.
Sosa had his eight-game suspension reduced by one game by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, a day after having a hearing that included Sosa's agent, Tom Reich, and Cubs president Andy MacPhail speaking on Sosa's behalf.
Sosa spoke candidly before playing Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles about the fallout he expects from using a corked bat last week in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He acknowledged for the first time that it will be a smudge on his career, but one he hopes to erase by rededicating himself to the fans who have stuck by him.
"I got to carry that mark for the rest of my life," Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I'm probably going to hear that for the rest of my life. Worse things have happened to a lot of people.
"All my enemies have a chance to stab me once again in the back. But I can live with that. They can say whatever they want. Hopefully, they all never make a mistake like that in their lives. A lot of people had to go through the same thing. It's something I got to deal with."
Clinton and Sosa became friends when Clinton was in the White House, and the former president counseled Sosa by telephone.
"He told me to stay strong and don't give up," Sosa told the Sun-Times. "It's something that happens to people. It'll go away." Donald Trump, whom Sosa considers a friend, also was quick to phone Sosa and express support. "The support I've been having is tremendous, unbelievable," Sosa said. "I never have seen so much support in my life, because I say the truth. When you say the truth, people will believe you. At the beginning, they don't.
"But after they X-rayed all the 76 bats and they came out clean, people started believing I was telling the truth. That was my only hope after the accident, that people knew I was telling the truth."
Sosa was told that many people still believe using the corked bat was no accident. A number of major-leaguers have said that hitters couldn't be mistaken about what bat they're using in a game, raising doubts about Sosa's contention that it was just a mistake.
But Sosa still denies using the corked bat on purpose.
"People right now think so many things," he said. "They make so many comments. You have to listen. What can you do? I made a mistake. I regret it. I have to deal with that and continue with my life."