If FanSided’s experts were actually the so-called experts responsible for choosing enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame, then controversial ex-Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t be a first-ballot honoree, but his momentum would’ve carried him to the verge, rendering his eventual election inevitable.
In the real world, however, Rodriguez — no longer A-Rod, but rather “Lightning Rod” — is just as far away as you would’ve estimated a convicted steroid cheat would be after Year 1.
No matter how talented a player is, anyone branded with an official MLB-sanctioned suspension seems doomed to the pile of castoffs. Double that for icons of the game who don’t have an official positive test on their ledger, but for whom suspicion is overwhelming (and merited).
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, in their 10th and final years of eligibility, almost certainly used performance-enhancing drugs. Stunningly, though, the only evidence of their malfeasance remains hearsay and rumored hidden tests; they’ve been undone by no more than what Jeff Bagwell had to deal with as he sailed into Cooperstown.
Rodriguez, of course, has a full season’s worth of “suspension games lost” on his ledger; he missed the entirety of the 2014 season after the suspension was levied midway through 2013 (he appealed and stayed temporarily active.
The former Yankee’s case is of course different from David Ortiz’s, who was tagged with a positive test on the 2003 anonymous survey testing that has since been called into question by Rob Manfred. Of course, it remains unsurprising that Ortiz’s steroid case is the first to ever be considered by the voters with any form of nuance.
Ortiz is beloved. Rodriguez, despite his best efforts, is not.
Yankees star Alex Rodriguez misses Baseball Hall of Fame in FanSided’s election.
FanSided’s electors sided with the masses in the case of Ortiz, ushering him in due to his 500 Home Run Club membership, historic postseason success, and gregarious attitude. This mirrors what is likely to occur on Tuesday when the BBWAA’s official results are revealed.
Ortiz won’t merit induction in an overwhelming landslide, but he should still sneak over the threshold.
Meanwhile, the faces of the Steroid Era met an extremely different fate when FanSided’s lenient and forgiving electors combined their powers. On their very last ballots, Clemens and Bonds passed the threshold; in reality, both men made nearly no inroads among the undecided during their final chance before the Veterans Committee tackles their cases years from now.
Rodriguez, similarly, was treated far kinder in-house. His 60% vote share fell behind Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen, among the unelected, but translates to likely election in the years to come.
In reality? His 40.7% on public ballots will surely shrink a bit when the full results are revealed (private voters are far less generous to controversial candidates, per the data). That will leave Rodriguez firmly in Manny Ramirez’s territory, fittingly, and he’ll have to win over a substantial sample for his momentum to ever matter.
In FanSided’s Hall, Rodriguez’s nearly 700 home runs are weighed alongside his demerits in a fair-and-balanced discussion that will seemingly lead to him someday being recognized — with all the necessary caveats likely included on his plaque. Perhaps he’ll even be enshrined in a special section for those who cheated the game, but whose greatness transcended the mud.
In Cooperstown? Rodriguez will be passed off in a decade to his peers, who may eventually forgive him. Either that, or he’ll preach from his pulpit on “Shark Tank” that he no longer wishes to be considered.