David Ortiz’s Red Sox teammate Will Middlebrooks roasts Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame ballot
Former Red Sox World Series champion Will Middlebrooks isn’t afraid to speak his mind on Twitter, which makes for great entertainment for fans who are missing baseball during this endless MLB lockout.
During the lockout, teams cannot make any major-league deals. No free-agent signings or blockbuster trades; teams are not even allowed to contact their players. As such, one of the only crumbs of news for fans is the slow reveal of BBWAA writers’ Baseball Hall of Fame ballots, meticulously documented by the Tracker.
This week, the Boston Globe‘s seven BBWAA voters revealed their ballots, causing mass hysteria on Twitter when it was revealed that longtime columnist Dan Shaughnessy only voted for Jeff Kent. He was the only Globe voter to exclude David Ortiz, who is currently in his first year of eligibility.
Should David Ortiz be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
Ortiz is a three-time World Series champion, 10-time All-Star, 7-time Silver Slugger, and ALCS and World Series MVP. He finished his career with 541 home runs, 2472 hits, 1,415 runs, and 1,768 RBI. The DH is considered the most clutch postseason hitter in franchise history – some say in all of MLB – with a career .289/.404/.543 line and .947 OPS over 85 high-stakes games.
Middlebrooks played for the Red Sox from 2012-14 and was part of the 2013 Boston Strong season and championship, overlapping with Ortiz, who ascended from baseball star to Boston legend that year due to a stunning speech at Fenway Park and an astounding postseason performance.
He was one of several people to roast Shaughnessy’s ballot:
Middlebrooks also liked several tweets critiquing the ballot, and others in support of Ortiz’s Hall of Fame candidacy.
He also questioned Shaughnessy voting for Jeff Kent but not Scott Rolen:
For many, it’s not how Shaughnessy voted as much as the reasoning behind his lone vote. Each of the Globe voters explained their ballot, and Shaughnessy used his time at the proverbial podium to question why “a pack of baseball scribes” are qualified to judge a player’s character, as the Hall’s voting rules stipulate.
Of course, Shaughnessy then did just that. His headline read, “There’s only one worthy candidate without a whiff of scandal.” He then went on to say,
"“Kent gets this vote because he was dominant at his position in the time he played and there is no whiff of cheating or off-field scandal.”"
Except, Shaughnessy’s holier-than-thou voting process (which you can partially blame on the Hall making BBWAA writers the arbiters of morality in the first place) seems to ignore that in 2008, Kent donated thousands of dollars to Prop 8, which would have banned gay marriage in the state of California.
Many people would be more averse to keeping someone who financially supported anti-LGBTQ+ legislation out of the Hall of Fame than a player like Ortiz, who maybe tested positive once in his career, before the rules were in place, and never tested positive again, in his best years and when he was the most-tested player in baseball. Homophobia goes against character and integrity, two things the Hall asks voters to factor into a player’s candidacy.
But as another Twitter user pointed out, Shaughnessy seems to have a different issue with Ortiz:
Whether you agree with the Hall of Fame having a character clause or think induction should be based solely on on-field performance, the fact is that the clause exists, and Kent’s actions appear to violate it. Shaughnessy has yet to address it.
As of Wednesday, 41.1% of ballots have been made public, and Ortiz has 83.9% of their votes, the only candidate to crack 80%.
Hopefully, Shaughnessy’s feelings towards him won’t be the difference-maker.