By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you thought the 2021 non-class of the Baseball Hall of Fame caused a kerfuffle, just wait until next year. In 2022, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz will be thrown into the controversial voting process, adding more gasoline to an already burning wildfire.READ MORE: 1 Dead, Several Others Injured In Multi-Car Crash On I-93 In Canton
Add those two to the final year of eligibility for lightning rods Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, and it’s going to get really messy.
Bonds and Clemens have been shut out of the Hall for nine years due to their history of PED use, while Schilling has been left outside because of his questionable character off the diamond. In 12 short months, Rodriguez and Ortiz will join the discussion, which will really rile up everyone’s favorite voters in the BBWAA.
Rodriguez brings his own past of PED use to the ballot. In 2009, he admitted to taking PEDs while with the Texas Rangers in 2001. He never tested positive during his career, but he was also part of the Biogenesis scandal, where he admitted to DEA investigators — who popped Anthony Bosch, owner of the Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables in Florida — that he had used banned substances between late 2010 and October 2012.
A-Rod was suspended by then MLB commissioner Bud Selig for 211 games in 2013, a penalty that was later cut down to the 2014 season. Rodriguez played two more seasons after serving that ban and added 42 homers to his all-time total, giving him 696 for his 22-year career, good for fourth all-time behind Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.READ MORE: Rally Held In Boston For George Floyd As Derek Chauvin Trial Begins Next Week
He’s certainly got the Hall of Fame credentials, but as we’ve seen over the last nine years, the BBWAA isn’t very keen on PED users. Many will point to the hypocrisy of it all, since most of the writers who control who gets into Cooperstown had no problem turning a blind eye on PED use as MLB’s home run totals increased and made the game more exciting. All those dingers helped sell the sport, and they benefitted. And Bud Selig, the man who oversaw the Steroids Era and did nothing to stop it because it was saving the game, already has his own spot in the Hall of Fame.
Ortiz’s eligibility will create a whole new wave of questions. The legendary Red Sox DH has the resume of a Hall of Famer, with countless monumental postseasons swings that led to his three World Series rings, not to mention 541 regular season homers.
While there is a PED cloud over the Ortiz, he never actually failed a PED test during his career. His name was leaked in a New York Times report in 2009 that identified players who tested positive in 2003 as baseball was trying to figure out if they needed to implement PED testing. It was never made public what Ortiz tested positive for, and Ortiz has never been told if he actually tested positive for steroids. He maintains that it was legal supplements and over the counter vitamins that triggered the positive test.
It’s all a bit murky with Big Papi. But if there is one thing going in his and Rodriguez’s favor, it’s that those around baseball — and MLB itself — still really likes the two. A-Rod is part of the ESPN broadcasts and is a big part of Fox’s postseason coverage. Ortiz is also part of the Fox team, and he’s featured in several MLB promos.
The 2022 ballot will be the last time that Bonds and Clemens will have a box next to their name. Their votes have increased over the last few years, but never enough for enshrinement. The same can be said for Schilling, but after not getting the call Tuesday, he has asked that his name be removed from the ballot next year. We’ll have to wait and see if the Hall of Fame committee honors that request.MORE NEWS: NH Motor Speedway Mass Vaccination Site Aims To Administer 12,000 J&J Shots Over 3 Days
The 2022 vote was already going to be a fascinating one, and with Rodriguez and Ortiz entering the mix, it will create a whole new air of controversy on a process that is never lacking in that department.