10/16/2003 12:16 AM ET
Sosa picks Marlins in World Series
CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa picked the Florida Marlins to win the World Series.
It doesn't matter who they're playing -- the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. Sosa figures whoever beats the Chicago Cubs should win it all.
"If they don't win the World Series, I'll be very mad," Sosa said Wednesday after the Marlins ousted the Cubs with a 9-6 win in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
"We did everything. We gave Chicago something they've never experienced before," Sosa said. "Next year, we'll be a much better team. We had a little taste of what it's like in the postseason."
Getting to the playoffs was a positive way for Sosa to end what has been a roller-coaster season. He became the 18th member of the 500-homer club in April, then was sidelined three weeks in May with a sore right big toe. In June, he was caught using a corked bat and eventually served a suspension.
The Cubs slugger finished the season with a .279 average, 40 home runs and 103 RBIs in 137 games. He is the first player in National League history to put together six consecutive 40-homer seasons and nine straight 100 RBI seasons. And he's just the third player in big-league history to have nine 35-homer, 100 RBI seasons in a row, joining Jimmie Foxx and Rafael Palmeiro.
He went 8-for-26 in the NLCS with two home runs and six RBIs, connecting in back-to-back games in Games 1 and 2 but was shut down after that.
Sosa thanked the Cubs fans who backed the team.
"The fans -- we celebrated together, we cried together," he said. "Next year, we'll be a better team.
"That should've been us [in the World Series]," he said. "We fought like a man and we died like a gladiator. This city should be proud. We'll be ready for next year and we'll be back."
But will Sosa? The outfielder, who turns 35 on Nov. 12, has an option in his contract that allows him to file for free agency after the season is over.
"This is a great team," he said, "and the experience we had now is something we can build on. Something will be worked out. I know we have a chance to be great next year.
"This is our first step," he said of advancing to the NLCS. "We haven't given up yet. We have good talent on this ballclub."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com