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Corked Bats, Corked Souls

What's inside determines both the heavy-hitter and the lightweight.

From my journal this last month: Sammy Sosa was kicked out of a baseball game the other night because it was discovered that he had used a corked bat. He'd hit a ball; the bat broke; and there was the embarrassing evidence that the bat he was using was illegal. Sosa apologized to the fans after the game and said that he simply picked up the wrong bat. The league announced today that it had examined all 70 of his other bats (He's got 70 bats?) and that all of them were "legit." Unfortunately, not everyone believes Sosa's explanation—unless they live in Chicago.

I'd never heard of a corked bat before and wasn't sure I understood what this was about until this morning's newspaper explained that some hitters drill out the core of a "hardwooded" bat and fill it with cork. Result: the bat retains its hitting power, but it becomes lighter, easier to swing. Sosa says he only uses a corked bat in homerun contests and in batting practice. The fans love to see him hit the long ball, he said. ...

January/February
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