Herman: Thoughts on David Ortiz, H.S. football playoffs
As the coffee percolates and the bagel toasts, I have some sports thoughts today.
The big news this week was the announced retirement of David Ortiz at the end of the 2016 season.
If you are a Red Sox fan, the news was met with some dismay. After all, how does one replace Big Papi in the Boston lineup? At least Dave Dombrowski has all of this coming season to think about it. That's a good thing, because Dombrowski has more important things to consider, like building a good starting rotation and a better bullpen.
But the bigger question surrounding David Ortiz is whether he is Hall of Fame worthy. I am of one mind on the subject.
If you believe that players who were involved in the PED scandals that rocked the game should not be admitted to Cooperstown, then Ortiz is a definite "No."
He never was caught in a test, but his name was on a list of reported PED users. In the eyes of many that should disqualify him.
In my eyes, David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer.
The logjam over the PED generation will break in the next few years. We can say that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens got caught and don't deserve to be admitted. Do we actually know how many players used PEDs? We don't really know how many players used PEDs and how many didn't.
Anyone who got caught and was worthy could have a notation on his plaque. That would recognize the PED Era in baseball.
Don't hold Ortiz's position against him. He cannot be blamed for being a designated hitter. It's a legitimate position on an American League team, and should be treated the same way a second baseman or an outfielder is. Besides, pitchers don't hit, so does that make them incomplete players and ineligible for admission to Cooperstown? I didn't think so.
David Ortiz and Edgar Martinez are the only two players who have earned admission based on their play at DH.
Ortiz helped break the Curse of the Bambino, and then led the Red Sox to two more World Series championships for good measure. His numbers stack up with the best power hitters of his generation.
In fact, some are beginning to debate whether David Ortiz should surpass Ted Williams as the No. 1 player in Red Sox history. That is a discussion for another day.
I don't have a vote. If I did, I would vote David Ortiz into Cooperstown.
The criticism last week was loud. Why did Hoosac Valley and Taconic have to go all the way to Northampton to play their Western Massachusetts Division V football championship game? What's wrong?
This is not an argument for the turf field in Pittsfield, which I do support. It is for having all Western Mass. football championship games at one spot. That spot should be McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the UMass-Amherst campus.
Championship games should be held at special places, places that athletes can point to as destinations.
Basketball has the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass. Softball has Sortino Field at UMass. Athletes in those sports don't just talk about going to Western Mass. They want to get to the Cage.
That's what playing at McGuirk could do for the football players and their fans. It would be a real destination, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
UMass athletic director Ryan Banford has much on his plate in his first year, not the least of which is trying to inspire additional support for the football program. Having high school teams think of McGuirk as their championship home can't hurt trying to build the UMass football brand.
How about donating McGuirk for the day? Send the Minutemen on the road that weekend, and bring four high school football games there. Use the Sports Management students to help make it a big day for everyone.
It can, and should, be done.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.