Scott Tibbs
Printed in the Herald-Times, July 16, 2003

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Attacks on Sammy Sosa go over the line

To the Editor

I understand that newspaper comic strips are meant to be funny, but there is a point when a "joke" is not funny. This is the case with the "Tank McNamara" strip in the Herald-Times. The authors, Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds, have mercilessly mocked Chicago Cubs player Sammy Sosa after an unfortunate incident involving a corked bat. When Sosa's bat broke in a game, officials discovered it had been corked.

Sosa explained that he was using a corked bat in practice to put on an exciting show for the fans. That bat mistakenly wound up with his game bats. Furthermore, none of Sosa's other bats were found to be illegal. Also consider that Sammy Sosa has been an exceptional citizen and role model in a sport plagued with poor role models. Sosa has contributed generously to charities, including helping his home country deal with the aftermath of a hurricane. That none of Sosa's other bats were illegal combined with Sosa's good character should entitle him to the benefit of the doubt about whether or not he was intentionally cheating.

There is no question that Sosa made a mistake and should be punished for it. Even if using the corked bat was unintentional, it is Sosa's responsibility to make sure the equipment he uses in a game is within regulations. Public figures like Sosa can expect criticism, but the mean-spirited taunting by the writers of the "Tank McNamara" strip is uncalled for. Millar and Hinds should be ashamed of themselves.