(you’d hate Sosa too, if you had to unload 20,000 of these)

Nine days before Spring Training, the burning question from Trib Tower to Trib-owned Daily News is Sammy Sosa. First, the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan pads a column on Cubs’ Spring Training. Of note, Zambrano is expected to accept a $13 mil counter offer from the Cubs, then Sully raises several hopelessly speculative line-up questions before writing:

Unless he begs out of the lineup, former Cubs star Sammy Sosa will travel to Mesa with Texas for a Cactus League game against the Cubs on March 21 at HoHoKam Park. That will be Sosa’s first opportunity to play in front of Cubs fans since his ill-fated walkout on the final day of the 2004 season, which prompted his trade to Baltimore.Will fans forgive and forget, or will Sosa be booed all afternoon? Either way, it’s just one more thing to look forward to in what figures to be a sizzling six weeks under the Arizona sun.

Jim Rich of The New York Daily News starts the boos today for Sosa who, from this account, is guilty of steroid usage for simply sitting next to Raffy and McGwire. Did he sit on one of their needles?

We’re starting to drift a little further away from reality here.

Fact 3: Sosa sat next to Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire on that congressional panel and denied using steroids. Later that season Palmeiro failed a ‘roid test. McGwire, well, we already covered him. That leaves Sosa again. The only guy of the three who denied juicing that we are expected to “trust.”

Birds of a feather usually flock together, right?