It should surprise no one. Anyone remotely familiar with Sammy Sosa, and the slugger's legendary but controversial career, will feign no ignorance. Long suspected of using steroids, Sammy Sosa has finally had his name linked to a positive test according to the New York Times.
Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003, the year the Cubs almost advanced to the World Series for the first time in decades, and just a few seasons after Sosa effectively resurrected baseball alongside Mark McGwire. That year -- the summer of 1998 -- the two battled for the all-time home run record, a chase widely credited with bringing fans back to the sport after years of post-strike malaise. Since, both players' accomplishments have waned in public memory, and McGwire's Hall of Fame candidacy has faced serious resistance despite never testing positive for a banned substance.
Sosa, it seems, is not that lucky. His test has come about much the same way as Alex Rodriguez's -- as one of the tests taken under the promise of anonymity as negotiated by the league and the players' union. Such tests were to remain anonymous, and if 5 percent were positive, testing would be implemented. 104 names yielded positive tests, and after federal agents seized the names as evidence in a steroid-distribution investigation, those names have begun to slowly leak.
The situation has been mishandled -- possibly in an illegal manner -- from the outset. But baseball fans will be less concerned with Sosa's civil rights and more concerned with what the positive test will do to his legacy. Your mileage may vary, but Sosa is still Sosa. How many fans believed he was clean anyway? This confirms, but it doesn't shock, and even if Sosa had never tested positive, or that test had never leaked, he might still have had problems making it into the Hall of Fame. Rather than change that course, today's news merely seals it.
Because everyone was cheating. Or every great one was. There's no more room for naivete now.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.