Hahaha of course:
David Ortiz gazed at his phone, his pursed lips revealing nerves rarely seen from one of the game’s great clutch hitters.
Pedro Martinez’s hand rested on Ortiz’s shoulder, and Martinez grinned when the good news came through. The former teammates embraced, and Martinez welcomed Ortiz into a rare space in baseball history.
Big Papi is bound for Cooperstown — and on the first ballot, too.
Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first try Tuesday, while steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry in their final year under consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Inducting Ortiz on the first ballot in the same election that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were permanently shut out by the BBWAA is perfect. It’s not even about PEDs anymore; just a large minority of writers keeping the greatest player and pitcher of their generation (and very arguably the best of any generation) out of the Hall of Fame because they don’t like them. “They took different PEDs than the guys I grew up with” is just the increasingly flimsy excuse, happily winked at for players they like.
As Jeff Passan says:
At the entrance to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s plaque gallery, a sign hangs to help guide museumgoers through what they’re about to see. The first paragraph talks about how players are in the Hall for “their accomplishments in the game.” The next paragraph says other areas of the museum “address the totality of their careers.” The final paragraph ties it all together: “The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission is to Preserve History, which is what we seek to do throughout the Museum.”
If indeed that is the Hall’s mission, today is nothing less than an abject failure. Barry Bonds, arguably the greatest hitter in baseball history, inarguably worthy of induction, did not reach the 75% threshold in his final year on the writers’ ballot. For the past nine years, at least one-third of the baseball writers who adjudicate such matters have found Bonds’ use of performance-enhancing drugs to be disqualifying, and the revelation of Tuesday’s vote is not expected to render any different judgment. He’s not the only one, but Bonds’ rejection, in particular, epitomizes how all these decades later, baseball is still bungling the PED issue, valuing a lazy, ahistorical moral referendum over the preservation of history.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what’s most frustrating. Perhaps it’s that there already are players in the Hall accused of using PEDs. Or that the commissioner whose tenure encompassed the entirety of the steroid era, Bud Selig, is himself enshrined. Or that generations of players before Bonds, including manifold Hall of Famers, popped amphetamines as part of their pregame routine. Or that others honored with bronze renderings include multiple racists, domestic abusers and even a player who last year resigned from the Hall’s board of directors after a woman levied credible sexual misconduct allegations.
Really, maybe it’s just as simple as the guy with the most home runs ever should be in the museum that exists to tell baseball’s story.
The campaign against Bonds has spanned decades, involving malfunctions of fairness and logic across multiple cohorts.
Baseball’s War on (Some) Players Who Use (Some) Drugs has always involved ludicrously incoherent nostalgia mongering; this just puts a bow on it.