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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

David Ortiz is not a lock for the Hall of Fame just yet

As a fan of the Boston Red Sox, I’m happy that they have completed a turnaround from last season to come back and win the World Series.
It’s always a great feeling to see a long season pay off with the ultimate prize, and with our “Big Papi’’ David Ortiz taking home the MVP award at the stale age of 37, I’ve started to wonder about his legacy. There is no doubt that the number 34 will be branded into our hearts forever, but, will he live forever in the MLB and be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
This brings in the whole debate about designated hitters being first ballot hall of famers or not. They are part-time players that rarely see the field, and when they do it’s three days of mayhem debating if their glove will be a defensive liability and if it’s worth the risk when you have sloppy pitching and their bat isn’t really needed. Much like the other designated hitters in the live ball era, I think the jury is still out on the likelihood that David Ortiz will make the Hall of Fame.
Statistically, Ortiz is on the fence; in part because he doesn’t take the field. He hasn’t played more than 10 games in the field in a decade. Before that, he has only surpassed 40 games once. When he does take the field he reminds us of the soft, roundish, and slow-moving kid with soft hands from your high school baseball team. What he brings to the field works in a pinch, but he’s third on the defensive depth chart. Offensively he is what you want and expect from your designated hitter; he hits around .300 and drives in over 100 runs while putting a few dozen over the fence.
However, Ortiz is part of a black eye on the game once and could be a part of it again. Ortiz was part of an allegation about failed PED tests back in 2003. There have been loopholes discussed for eight players from a list containing 104 names tested positive for taking an assortment of nonandrostenedione, which is banned supplement, and that it has yet to be confirmed that Ortiz was one of those players. How is there a loophole? Because that list was supposed to be confidential, and Commissioner Selig decided to save face and not investigate that list. So, like the others on the list, Ortiz denied any use of the drug. Baseball already had its villains pointed out, so why attach Ortiz? He was the wide smiling; gapped tooth oversized personality of the most beloved story in baseball back in 2004 that was on the brink of making history with a World Series appearance. And now he has performed his baseball heroics once again with a stellar performance in this year’s World Series.
Excluding his three intentional walks in game six, Ortiz hit for over .700 with one strikeout and only five walks in the World Series. In a series that was dominated and won by pitching, I think the allegations could simmer again. In a series with fastballs living in the mid 90’s and every other hitter praying for a hit, Ortiz was a menace. He was hitting over .300 already in the postseason and then more than doubled that in the World Series. That isn’t really a hitting streak, that’s uncontrollably hot!
Because of the last 10 years of PED use in baseball, I’m forever skeptical about a player’s performance. It’s not entirely fair to every player in the game, but that is the way I’ve been conditioned to watch the game now. It’s merely food for thought, however. If it’s true, this will be the second time his name is linked to the black eye of the sport. So, as Ortiz, at the age of 37 where most players have already fallen off (Derek Jeter, Mr. Squeaky Clean, has been injury plagued the last few years) continues to dominate, I don’t think we can dismiss the idea. If that’s the case, I’m afraid the only Hall of Fame he’ll be in is in the Sports Museum at the Garden on Legends Way, but at least he will always be a legend to us.