The New York Yankees have had the pleasure of witnessing first hand two ‘farewell tours’ for Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. Now it’s time for them to hold one for an opposing player, but one who isn’t the most liked among Yankees fans either.
David Ortiz announced he’d be retiring after this upcoming season and it’s been made apparent that he will be the next receiver of the league’s farewell tour. He will also be a favorite to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame in his first term, so it seems. That second topic is interesting after seeing what happened to Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens.
Forewarning, if you’re one of those Red Sox fans who believes Ortiz has never muttered a lie in his life you might want to stop reading now, or keep reading and get a glimpse of reality, your choice.
I’d also like to add that I do in fact like Ortiz to a certain extent. He’s was a great player, loved his energy, never overreacted to his diva-like personality (I enjoy that sometimes in a player), and always knew he was a threat any time he got up to the plate. However, I’m not going to act like I wouldn’t have enjoyed CC Sabathia going toe-to-toe with Big Papi a couple times over the years.
I’ll address the farewell tour topic first.
So be it, with him on the brink of retiring, receiving a farewell tour, and looking forward to the Cooperstown, I (and many baseball fans as well) have the question of why should he be celebrated? A good comparison (one Yankees fans know all too well) is the one with Alex Rodriguez. There are a lot of similarities with David Ortiz and Alex here. Yes, Arod’s career isn’t over yet, but being a realist, I don’t foresee any celebrations or monuments to be made in his name. So if not for Arod, why for Ortiz? Further than Alex, If not Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, ect., why Ortiz as well?
The main issue with him receiving any recognition at all is this, he is a noted name in the Performance Enhancing Drug scandal. Still to this day it’s seems as though he got off just by saying he didn’t do it and all was forgiven. There’s no rule saying the Yankees have to honor him just because the rest of the MLB is, and they should realize the probability of anyone honoring Arod in his last season is very small. You may say the only reason the Yankees are doing this besides the rest of the MLB doing it is because the Red Sox honored Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. However, if that’s your reasoning, it does no justice for Ortiz. Jeter and Mo’ were a class-acts, never heard anything about them off the field, and never will. I can’t say the same for Papi, no one can.
So what if the Yankees were the only ones not to celebrate Papi? As Michael Kay insinuated on The Michael Kay Show yesterday, it’d give the league a message. How can the league let some steroid users go free but not the others like Bonds or McGwire. That’s why him and Alex are the ones you need to compare, will the Red Sox hold a ceremony for Arod in his last season? You’re out of your mind if you think they would, and even if by some chance in hell they did, Red Sox fans would go ballistic.
That said, I don’t agree with the Yankees giving Ortiz anything, even a 30 second video would be too much. I appreciate him as a player, I really do. As I said before he was fun to watch and fueled historic rivalry games between the Yankees and Red Sox over the years, but he needs no recognition in the Bronx.
Now to the Hall of Fame issue.
Once again the fact is Ortiz is a known PED-user, a very likable guy, but still on the books as a user. Obviously this is just speculation, but if Ortiz has gotten this far without any noise being made about the PEDs, I’m going to guess he will safely make it into the HOF at some point. With this happening he’ll be another fan-favorite PED user to slip into the HOF, while other players who despite using PEDs, were obviously much better players than Ortiz, will not make it in.
You might be wondering why this is being brought up now when Ortiz hasn’t even retired yet, but the Hall Of Fame voting has gotten very interesting the last couple of years. The ‘Steroid Era’ users are now flooding the ballots, and will continue to for the next decade. I personally would love to see the big names who changed the game get in. Bob Nightengale wrote an article on the matter around this time last year. He said something that I think needs to be taken into consideration so the inconsistent voting gets put to rest and the restless fans (such as myself) can stop dealing with nonsense. “Look, it was the steroid era, and until drug testing was implemented in 2004, nobody really cared”.
Another thing I’d like to point out.
I understand what the steroid era was and how it changed the game. I understand that it is cheating, and for many players like Ortiz who were in their prime when steroids were still a huge deal in the league, it was just what was going on. I’m not intentionally bashing Ortiz, I’m just speaking the truth, and that is him being in the same category as Alex and all the other users before him. I’d like to think of the MLB as the best managed league out of the big four, but this is where they’ve recently started to get exposed. It’s completely unacceptable to let some guys find their way in, and not have the likes of Bonds who will always have the biggest debate surrounding him, followed by Arod.
I’ll finish by saying this.
Alex Rodriguez has always been one of my favorite players, as were Bonds and Clemens, but again this is not meant to purposely bash Ortiz. However, if they’re not making it into the Hall, (which they won’t), no one from the steroid era, especially Ortiz, should be enshrined in Cooperstown .
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