Cubs don't need Sosa to carry them

Sammy Sosa is clearly in decline, but the Cubs should win the wild card no matter where he hits in the lineup.

Originally Published: August 17, 2004
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
I'm not a big fan of the wild card. Everybody loves it, but then everybody loves American Idol, too. Doesn't mean it's good.

At this particular moment, though, without the wild card there wouldn't be much worth following in the National League. All three divisions are all but locked up. The MVP's going to be either Barry Bonds (again) or one of those Cardinals. And Bethany Schmidt might as well make space on the mantel for Jason's 2004 Cy Young Award.

The wild-card race, though, is interesting, with three teams basically deadlocked and only six weeks left in the season. Three interesting teams, too. Great names like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Greg Maddux, along with a San Diego Padres club that finished in last place just a year ago. The Cubs are currently the favorites in this race, and they deserve to be. But they'll be better off if they ignore the ridiculous notion that the team would score more runs if Sammy Sosa were removed from his accustomed slot in the batting order.