The friction at least nominally arose over Baylor's implying that Sosa wasn't working hard enough on defense, and the question by the end of the weekend was which way Sosa would go. Would he finish his contract, which expires after the 2001 season, in Chicago, or would he be traded ( Yankees? Mets?), as general manager Ed Lynch suggested Sosa might be if a deal could be made that would improve the Cubs (26-37 through Sunday)?
Predictably, the issue boils down to money. Sosa may have his problems with Baylor, but what really has baseball's erstwhile most happy fella so chapped is his $11 million salary, which is now only 10th highest in the big leagues. Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, said as much last week by comparing Sosa's eventual free agency to recent showdowns involving other superstars.
"The club has to make a determination with a player who is 18 months from free agency," Katz said. "The way the business is, [the team has] to figure this thing out or [it will] get into the Griffey situation. It can be devastating to a club."
Travels with Rickey
Clueless in Seattle
It's Rickey Henderson's world; everyone else is just living in it. Last month Henderson, having signed with the Mariners after the Mets released him, was taking his first batting practice with his new teammates when he encountered Seattle first baseman John Olerud wearing a batting helmet. "What's up with the helmet?" Henderson reportedly inquired.
"I wear it all the time," said Olerud, who has worn a helmet whenever he has been on a baseball field since suffering a brain aneurysm in 1989.
"I'll be damned," said Henderson. "I used to play with a guy in New York who did the same thing."
"That," said Olerud, who was a teammate of Henderson's on the Mets for all of 1999, as well as on the Blue Jays for part of the 1993 season, "was me."
June 16-18: Angels at Orioles
The stars are aligned for Mo Vaughn to have a big weekend in Baltimore. First, he gets to hit at one of his favorite fields: His 15 home runs at Camden Yards are the most he has hit in any American League stadium other than Boston's Fenway Park and Anaheim's Edison Field. Plus, he'll see pitchers he's feasted on throughout his career. Vaughn's career averages against the Orioles' three scheduled starters—Sidney Ponson, Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson—are .421, .339 and .328, respectively.