Sandberg speaks his mind

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Theories abound for Ryne Sandberg's inability to deliver a single usable quote in 16 major-league seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

Sandberg insists that baseball was never easy for him, and that he channeled so much energy into preparation that he had nothing left to give to the media. But he might have underestimated his gifts. Former Cubs teammate Mark Grace once told a Chicago reporter that Sandberg was so good it scared him, and that he responded to the demands of fame by withdrawing rather than embracing the role of star.

The end product was a portrait in bland. Sandberg hit 282 career home runs, made 10 All-Star teams, won nine Gold Gloves, and maintained a subterranean profile because he shared so little of himself for public consumption.