Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood -- many former Chicago Cubs legends took part in the 2016 World Series celebration, but one was noticeably absent: Sammy Sosa. And from what he's saying, a reunion isn't likely anytime soon.
Former Cubs media relations employee Chuck Wasserstrom spoke with Sosa over Skype recently and wrote about their conversation on his personal blog. Sosa, who played 13 years with the Cubs, said he regrets how he parted with the team but said he won't come begging to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
"I never say 'No' to that. I owe something to the people -- to the crowd in Chicago," he said. "For that, I would come back. But I'm not going to go up there and say, 'I'm here. Please bring me back and give me a chance.' No way. I'm not hungry. I have too much pride. They know where they can find me."
Sosa left the Cubs' game early on the last day of the 2004 season, incensing some teammates, who smashed his boombox. After initially lying about leaving the clubhouse, Sosa later said he had permission from then-manager Dusty Baker. It was a messy situation that followed whispers of performance-enhancing drug use and Sosa getting busted for using a corked bat in 2003.
The Cubs traded the outfielder to the Orioles after the 2004 season, and the sides have not reconciled.
"I never wanted to leave Chicago. I should have handled that situation differently, yes indeed," Sosa told Wasserstrom. "I recognize my mistake. But look, I have my pride, and I know I had a tremendous career in Chicago. When nobody knew who Chicago was, I put Chicago on the map. Like you said, if I could have done it again, I would have done it differently."
Sosa's reputation was further tarnished when he denied using PEDs in congressional testimony, and lawmakers considered charging him with perjury based on a New York Times report that he tested positive. He was not charged.
All of it made Sosa feel persecuted.
"A lot of people say so many things, but I'm telling you -- they have nothing on me," Sosa said. "I'm not going to go out there begging, because they have no case. They had the Mitchell report trying to find something, but they had nothing on Mr. Sosa."
He added: "Chuck, it's like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem. Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch [laughing], and he was our savior. So if they talk s--- about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?"
Sosa said his business ventures in his home in the Dominican Republic and around the world are doing well. He has no interest in coaching and would only return to baseball as an owner. He said he was happy to see the Cubs finally break the curse and win a World Series, but he needs an invitation from the team to return to Wrigley Field.
"Hey, if they send me an invitation, then I would definitely say yes," he said. "This is my house -- no matter what happened [at the end]. My numbers -- nobody is going to take them from me. Not even Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, hit that many home runs. And I did it with style [laughing]. But if they invite me, why not? One day, if they invite me, a lot of people will be very happy about it."