Please tell us the truth about Sosa's music in the clubhouse and how it affects the rest of the team. The media seems to think it's the reason for the Cubs' failure. Why can't anyone accept the fact that the Cubs make terrible personnel decisions? --Kary Singh, DeKalb, Ill.
Sammy, did you write this? C'mon, admit it
OK, if you want "the truth," here goes. Some days the music is loud and annoying. Other days it's mellow and soothing. The point? Music is a matter of personal taste. Although Sammy might get pumped up by listening to Britney Spears, Joe Borowski, whose locker is about 10 feet away, might prefer Limp Bizkit. Or maybe he longs for the sounds of silence. The point is, when Sammy blares his boom box, he's making decisions for the rest of the team. There's a reason the Braves use headphones.
Teddy, how jealous are you that you're not covering the Sox? That attack on Tom Gamboa was nothing short of deplorable yet extremely newsworthy. As a Chicagoan and a Sox fan, I'm ashamed at the behavior of a few bad apples. However, I'm curious to know if you think there's a correlation between violent behavior and various states of undress. Last night's assailants were clad in nothing more than their Levis. Do you know what the fans were wearing (or not wearing) during the brawl during the Dodgers game at Wrigley a couple of years ago? --Jenny Tammen, Chicago
I'm guessing jackets and ties. Lowlife Cub fans at least have some style.
Are the Cubs going to examine other possibilities at SS, or are they set on Alex Gonzalez for at least 2003? --Dave Eichenstein, Denver
Barring something completely unforeseen, Gonzalez will be back at short next year. He's still owed about $10 million over two years. Gonzalez performed just as the Cubs expected--solid production (18 homers, 61 RBIs), mediocre average (.248) and a million strikeouts (OK, 136). What they didn't expect was for him to commit 21 errors, 11 more than he did in 2001. Some of that rise could probably be attributed to switching leagues and playing on new fields.
Isn't Felipe Alou the perfect manager for the Cubs? He would not stand for the uninspired play we have seen this year. Alou's Expos always played hard, despite their minuscule payroll. It seems as if the Alou father and son combo is just what the Cubs need. --Sanjay Ahluwalia, Burr Ridge, Ill.
The last time Felipe Alou was at Wrigley Field, he made fun of Sosa for getting picked off first base late in a one-run game: "Sosa says he knows so much about the game," Alou said. "And you expect the manager to know more than Sosa."
So at least Alou would bring some life to his pre-game sessions with the media.
I've had this dispute over the past several seasons regarding Sammy Sosa and Magglio Ordonez. Who is Chicago's best right-fielder? --Clay Leonard, Chicago
Great question. Last year I put Sosa first on my NL MVP ballot after he blew away the competition in both runs and RBIs. Didn't hurt that he hit .328 and went deep 64 times, either.
A quick glance at the stats shows that Maggs had a better 2002 season. He hit .320 and drove in 135 runs, compared with Sosa's .288 and 108. Ordonez also struck out about half as many times, stole a few more bases and played better defense. So draw your own conclusions.
What's Alfonseca's situation? Are they not going to use him as a closer? What about next year and his arbitration? --J. Church, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
If he's the Cubs' closer, they're in serious trouble. He's arbitration-eligible and due to be paid about $4 million next season. That's a lot for a set-up man, but who are the Cubs' other alternatives? Joe Borowski can't pitch every day.
Now that the Cubs are in the hunt for a top draft pick next year (it,s looking like No. 5 or 6), how is next year's class looking? Are there any Mark Priors? How does the class look especially at some of the Cubs' weaker positions like third, short, and catcher? --Mike Phipps, Greenwood, Ind.
C'mon, Mike, you must have better things to worry about.
Who stays; who goes? Thanks, Teddy. --Jerry Todd, Chicago
Who stays? Choi, Hill, Gonzalez, Alou, Patterson, Bellhorn, Sosa, Wood, Prior, Clement, Zambrano, Borowski, Cruz and Alfonseca, among others. And if the Cubs don't re-sign Echevarria, they're nuts. As for Farnsworth, who knows?
Who goes? Me. I'm switching to the Sox next year, and the frisky Paul Sullivan comes back on the Cubs beat. (As far as he and I know.)
Thanks for writing and reading.