It was a simple, straightforward question for Chicago Cubs bomber Sammy Sosa.
"You've said if baseball tests for steroids, you want to be first in line, right?" I asked him last Thursday at his Wrigley Field locker.
"Yes," Sosa replied.
"Well, why wait?" I said.
I wrote down the name and phone number of LabCorp, which has a diagnostic test lab in Elmhurst, Ill., 30 minutes from Wrigley. I told him what LabCorp had told me: If any person wants to be tested for steroids, all he has to do is have his physician give a written order and bring in a blood or urine sample. The lab could have the results back within 10 days.
Sosa looked at the piece of paper as if it were a dead rat.
"Why wait to see what the players' association will do?" I continued. "Why not step up right now and be tested? You show everybody you're clean. It'll lift a cloud off you and a cloud off the game. It'll show the fans that all these great numbers you're putting up are real."
Sosa's neck veins started to bulge.
I tried to tell him how important I thought this was. How attendance is headed for the cesspool. A former MVP told SI that 50% of the players are on steroids. The fans are starting to look at every home run record the way people look at Ted Koppel's hair. And there's the threat of a strike. Something good has to happen. What could be more positive than the game's leading home run hitter's proving himself cleaner than Drew Carey's fork?