Indonesian Parliament Presiding

It’s an off day, so you know what that means: Spirited debate, followed by snippy conversation, followed by full-on flame wars, personal attacks, misogny and homophobia. But enough about the Texas GOP, I have a question.

I’m too depressed after taking a wonderful anniversary weekend off (only to return and the Sox be 2 games out having lost two winnable games in ridiculous fashion) to discuss the Sox’ potential to be a playoff team. They’re not playing like a playoff team now, and if by some miracle, they make the playoffs, they won’t last long. So on to the question.

If David Ortiz hits 62 home runs this year (22 home runs in eight weeks, not an unheard-of clip), what will the overall reaction be as he approaches Maris’ mark? Untainted by steroids talk, Ortiz would represent a kind of new beginning for baseball. I wonder whether there would be a popular, though unofficial, consideration that 62 by Ortiz would be considered a "pure" home run record.

Discuss amongst yourselves, and thanks much to YF for filling in for us SFs as we cowered in horror took some needed time off.

54 comments… add one
  • 1. The Red Sox are only two games out. Back away from the ledge.
    2. Unfortunately for your hope of a “new beginning” all players are now tainted with the steroid stuff, the guilty and the innocent alike – and large power hitters in particular (not that it’s entirely logical, given some of the guys who’ve been caught). Obviously, Ortiz hasn’t been caught, nor have there been allegations. That doesn’t mean he’s clean. I hope he’s clean, but you simply never know. It’s a sad fact. Hell, I cannot say for sure that Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams aren’t roiders. I don’t think they are (or were), but I simply don’t know for sure. Meh.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) August 7, 2006, 12:18 pm
  • I would consider Ortiz the true record holder. I think a lot of Red Sox fans will feel that way. But I don’t think it will get much attention outside of Red Sox Nation.
    Also, to the Red Sox bridge jumpers, pull it together people, this is not the end of the season yet.

    LocklandSF August 7, 2006, 12:38 pm
  • lets also remember Boston has a significat amount of games at home over the road in the final 2 months. Also at this point Yanks have played 2 more games so the 2 game deficit could really be just 1.
    Lopez will hit, and I have a feeling Foulke is gonna be 2004 Foulke when he returns this week.

    TJ August 7, 2006, 12:38 pm
  • “But I don’t think it will get much attention outside of Red Sox Nation.”
    ESPN would make sure that it did. That’s fine by me. It’d be a great accomplishment by a charismatic superstar.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 12:52 pm
  • “Also at this point Yanks have played 2 more games so the 2 game deficit could really be just 1.”
    I might be the doing the math wrong but it looks to me that the Sox have played 1 more game than the Yanks. The Sox are down 3 in the loss column.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 12:55 pm
  • Hasn’t Foulke spent more time “hoping to return to his old self” than actually “being his old self”?

    airk August 7, 2006, 12:58 pm
  • As a Yankee fan, Ortiz is one of the few Sox I actually like (late inning AB’s vs NY aside), but the only universe in which he could be completely untainted and 100% steroid-free is the one inside Bud’s head. MLB testing is and will continue to be a joke; what we’re looking at for the next few years is the savvier dopers padding their stats just like everyone has been doing since the 90’s. Only issue is that none of them have the sheer talent Bonds did, so they’re not going to put up ungodly numbers. This makes Bud and his cronies safe and secure, so that you can be damned sure the next guy to break 61* will be feted like a clean, conquering hero.

    Ponch August 7, 2006, 1:08 pm
  • The Sox have played more games than the Yanks.
    I’m not at the ledge, I’m just saying that right now, the Sox aren’t playing the way they need to make the playoffs, so unless the starters pull it together and the pen pulls it together at the same time, this team ain’t going anywhere in October. Now, I do think the talent is there for the Sox to play at least .600 baseball the rest of the way, but right now this team isn’t there.
    As for Papi, he is certainly among those people suspect simply for size and perceived out-of-nowhere performance, even though his performance has steadily improved over the course of five seasons. But what I mean is that he’s completely allegation-free, which is better than even Pujols, who has connections to the same trainer as Jason Grimsley. I agree Sox fans would consider it the “true” record (because I would, hehe), and I think ESPN would propogate that to a point. I think it would catch on in certain parts of the country, but not in San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis or New York — which make up a huuuge portion of baseball fandom. It’s just an interesting discussion to have because it’s possible, and because it’d be the first time to happen since the steroid explosion…

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 1:13 pm
  • “but not in San Francisco,”
    Paul, as someone who lives in the fine city by the bay, I have to correct. San Francisco is inhabited by an inordinate number of Sox fans. There would be dancing in the streets of the Marina here.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 1:25 pm
  • Right, some people blow Papi’s supposed overnight success out of proportion, ignoring that in his last season in Minnesota he hit 20 HRs (in ~400 ABs) and had a higher OBP than Torii Hunter.

    airk August 7, 2006, 1:28 pm
  • I, for one, would love to see Papi hit 62, and for that last one to come the day the Sox are knocked out of the playoff hunt. It would be a wonderful accomplishement worthy of celebration. Unfortunately the point made above by Rob is unavoidable; until there is a legitimate testing process, it’s impossible to know who is and is not clean, though we must proceed with a presumption of innocence where there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.
    But a larger point: there really isn’t such a thing as an “illegitimate record.” A record is just that: a recording of what has happened in the past. It is not a value judgment. The HR numbers racked up by Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa can’t be erased from history with a magic marker. Our history isn’t always something we can be proud of. But this is why there’s no sense in pointing to the next guy who hits 62 as the true home run king. They would not be. That record stands, and if it stands as an ugly black eye, that’s too bad.

    YF August 7, 2006, 1:31 pm
  • ESPN had a feature awhile back about the “New Records” that will/might/should supplant HRs as the most popular baseball marks — hit streak, scoreless innings streak, etc. I think there’s something to that, since it’s now impossible to talk about HRs without making depressing caveats about our favorite players.

    airk August 7, 2006, 1:35 pm
  • Weak.
    2002 Twins (400 or more AB) who had higher OBP than Hunter:
    Koskie .368
    Mienkiewicz .365
    Jacque Jones .341
    Ortiz .339
    If you’re going to try and use stats to argue a point, at least come to the table with something relevant.

    Bub August 7, 2006, 1:36 pm
  • Under that logic, YF, I still wonder why Olympians if found to have taken drugs — or, for a more recent example, Floyd Landis — can be stripped of their record as winner of a particular event. Yes, it might be immediate or within days or weeks or what-have-you, but the fact remains that they won the event, and that is part of the historical record, as you say.
    Sould there be a statute of limitations on when a record or accomplishment is written in stone and when it may be reversed? (i.e., a few minutes after, or a month after, or six months after, or a year after the event is OK, but a couple years is too late?)

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 1:38 pm
  • But Paul, the home run winner doesn’t win an award when he passes the record. He doesn’t get a prize from MLB. He does receive recognition from the fans.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 1:40 pm
  • Bub, the overall point remains valid though. Ortiz was a good home run hitter in 2002; the Twins (and everyone else in baseball) just didn’t recognize it. Theo apparently did, and Ortiz reWarded him by improving to the tune of about 10 home runs a year. I’m just combating the assumption widely held that Ortiz was an out-of-nowhere slugger like Bonds (who was a 40-HR guy until he magically clobbered 73).
    Of course, steroids affects everybody differently, and HGH is a different beast entirely, and steroids have been around since before Ortiz was a professional player, so all this is moot except to remove one potential line of argument. For the record, I don’t think Ortiz is juiced, but obviously we can never know.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 1:42 pm
  • Ignore my point. It doesn’t make sense.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 1:42 pm
  • Glass Half Empty Dept: I really don’t understand all this “they suck” and “if it weren’t for Papi’s and Loretta’s last-inning heroics…” stuff. Last inning heroics are A GOOD THING!
    The Sox have been in first place for most of the year. They’re without Wells, Clement, Foulke and now Tek, and they have a bunch of players who are brand new to Boston. Maybe they were just playing over their heads for a while and we have to give Theo’s program more time. Maybe they’re just in a little slump (a .500 slump, not a .250 slump) and they’ll snap back. Maybe it’s just a game and it sure is fun to watch Papi.
    Funny thing dept: the same people who are saying the Yankees are going to beat us when they come to Fenway are the same ones who have been beating on Cashman all year. Where’s the love, people?

    halffullYF August 7, 2006, 1:42 pm
  • “I think it would catch on in certain parts of the country, but not in San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis or New York — which make up a huuuge portion of baseball fandom.”
    Paul, I’m not so sure, except for maybe San Francisco. These also are cities that love and appreciate the game as much as their individual teams.
    I’m in the Chicago area, and you barely hear so much as a peep about Sosa these days. When you do, it is said with disdain. Cubs fans feel cheated by him, and White Sox fans love that Sosa was found to be a cheater. The whispers against him started long before his production went down.
    St. Louis fans also love their baseball and, I’m sure feel very cheated by McGwire. I’d be willing to bet that you see more Kile jersey than McGwire jerseys in Busch these days. I think they’d prefer the record were wholesomely held and that McGwire was as far removed as possible.
    And this site has taught me something about Yankees fans: They love and respect the game as much as their team. I do believe that a Papi 62 would be considered the record in the Apple by most.
    And I say this: In my world, the most prolific home run hitters in a single season are, in order, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth. I’d rather this record be held by clean Yankees than cheating anyone else, including cheating Red Sox.
    I think the world over, Papi 62 would be hailed as the new home run record, surpassing the previous record of 61 currently held by Roger Maris.
    (See, Yankee fans. I was born to hate the Yankees. But I know when to love.)

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 1:43 pm
  • Regarding Ortiz’s emergence as a star in Boston- There’s a fine chapter in BP’s book Mind Game, which is about the 2004 Sox. I believe it’s titled “They wanted me to hit like a little bitch” and it’s about the adjustment Sox coaches made to Ortiz’s swing after he arrived in Boston. In Minnesota they were trying to get him to go the opposite field, to make more contact. In Boston, they made him embrace his power more. It was fine to go for homers, even if it meant that he’d k a bit more.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 1:45 pm
  • Bub, the point is that Ortiz’ time in MIN is often talked about as if it were a bust. That his final season there was comparable with the guy – Hunter – who has been Minny’s top/most consistent offensive player of the early 2000’s (until Mauer of course) seems relevant in refuting those claims.

    airk August 7, 2006, 1:47 pm
  • “until there is a legitimate testing process, it’s impossible to know who is and is not clean”
    There is no better illustration of this point than Floyd Landis. (I’m an on the record as saying that he’s clean.)

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 1:47 pm
  • Bill, do you get the feeling that the Landis thing is going to become an ongoing legal saga? He doesn’t sound like he’s planning on letting go without a fight.

    airk August 7, 2006, 1:55 pm
  • I stand corrected by those who actually live in those cities. I guess I took the incomprehensible all-love attitude of Giants fans toward Bonds and attributed it across the board to fans of those other cities. Maybe Bill is right. I’d love for a Red Sock to get 62 and be recognized for it. I’d love in general for anybody who isn’t on drugs — whether we’d ever know it or not — to hold 62 as a record.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 2:02 pm
  • 22 more homers for Papi is not going to happen for a specific reason. During this August and September’s run of play-off bound baseball contending teams are not going to give Ortiz much to hit. I’m pretty sure pitchers are gonna throw around the strike zone, rather than challenge him and get rocked. He’s been doing it all year, and come August and September every year, sluggers start seeing less pitches to hit and they take their base on balls much more often. I know w/ Manny behind him people will say “no way, teams have to pitch to him”, but watch, Papi will start seeing a significant rise in BB, and a decreasing frequency of homers.

    bloodyank78 August 7, 2006, 2:24 pm
  • No Nick, don’t back off: your point is totally legitimate. An Olympic even is a discreet competition: who can lift the most weight. The HR record is set in the context of a larger series–the baseball season. Paul’s analogy is deceptive. In MLB, are you going to DQ an entire season’s performace from an entire team, and then adjust results accordingly? Obviously, you can’t do that.

    YF August 7, 2006, 2:28 pm
  • All walking Papi so much will accomplish will be giving the pair the record for most homers in a season by two teammates. In any case, Manny Ramirez is far more protection than most sluggers get, so I guess we’ll have to see. People said at the All-Star Break that Ortiz would be walked more and hit fewer home runs. Thus far, that hasn’t happened.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 2:32 pm
  • I’m not advocating this, but they DO do that — in college basketball, where teams must forfeit their games, their won-loss records, and those of their opponents, are changed, etc.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 2:37 pm
  • I don’t know but has anybody compared pictures of Ortiz from his Twins years to now, like they did with Bonds? Has he always had such a big head? I haven’t seen any picture comparisons, so I am just asking/wondering? If it turns out Ortiz has been taking steroids/HGH since he’s been with the Sox, does that mean that the 2004 WS Championship shouldn’t count? Yes I am a Yankee fan, but I’m just asking, not accusing.

    Bozo August 7, 2006, 3:06 pm
  • For the life of me I cannot figure out why teams pitch to Ortiz (or Pujol for that matter). Back in Bonds’ heyday they we giving him free passes left and right. I’ll admit Manny is far more protection than Bonds had, but especially in late inning situations I’d much rather have Manny and the lower portion of that lineup beat me.
    And on the topic of records I’d just like to have it recognized that there are 154 and 162 game season that are talked about like they are equal. I think that discounts what Babe did (and other old school record-holders). Those guys were awesome but seem to get the short end of the stick when teams have 5% more season in which to beat said accomplishments.

    Nate August 7, 2006, 3:37 pm
  • Yes, Nate. But they also didn’t play against African-Americans. Maris set his record in an expansion year. The problem with asterisks and “legitimized records” is that all history is contextual and subjective.

    YF August 7, 2006, 3:48 pm
  • Bozo: I don’t have specific links, but do a Google Image Search for ‘David Ortiz Twins’ and you’ll find a decent number of his twins photos (one or two dating back to 1997). He’s big in all of them, even in the head. Also, if you’ve ever seen his father, you’ll realize that it is very genetic. He has a big family.
    Nate: There might be a simple reason as to why people still pitch to Ortiz in clutch situations: a few just don’t beieve there’s such a thing as a “clutch hitter.” That disbelief ends up being their undoing on many occassions.

    Scott SF August 7, 2006, 3:48 pm
  • Scott SF: There’s another good reason, and that it’s probably good baseball to pitch to him, even in LIPS. Papi may be the most clutch player around, but he had all of–what?–12 walk off hits in his career? How many times has he come up in a walk off situation in his career? I’m guessing quite a few times that many.

    YF August 7, 2006, 4:20 pm
  • is there anyone who can say without a doubt that maris wasn’t using anything performance inhancing? just wanted to ask the question. it seems some people on this thread want to doubt davids legitimacy so i feel the same is due for old roger. i have taken so much pleasure in watching david and manny become the best same team tandum in the history of baseball. it seems like every couple of games they break a record set by ruth and gehrig. congrats to david on becoming the first sock to hit 40 hr’s in 3 consecutive years.

    sf rod August 7, 2006, 4:25 pm
  • Nate & YF,
    Is there an asterisk next to Maris’ record to illustrate the difference in games played? Can anyone clarify?
    Also, to the broader point of “62”:
    I don’t see how Bonds’ record can be scratched for the simple reason that whatever he used during the 2001 season was not banned by MLB. Bonds has not broken any rules with respects to the game as defined by MLB. If you consider what he did cheating, then fine, chalk it up in your own mind as such. But as for asterisks and rewriting record books: NO. It’s the bed MLB made for us and we ALL have to lie in it. And frankly, it pisses me off to no end that Selig and his owner buddies take absolutely no accountability for steroids in the game. Instead they scapegoat individual players that padded their pockets along the way. I believe, for better or worse, you have to dance with the person that brought you to the party.
    Also, 10 years from now we will probably be talking about HGH in the exact same messed-up context. If Papi is using HGH now, does it discount his potential MVP award? It’s really sad and pathetic that because of MLB’s f-ed up policies, we can’t move beyond this stuff.
    MLB set this course for the game and they are to be blamed and penalized, not individual players.
    And Scott, please define “clutch” and we can put it to the test across the boad, with every MLB player – ever. Or maybe we can just apply it to Papi over the course of his ENTIRE career. It seems that “clutch” is applied to Ortiz and A-Rod over a verrrry selective/subjective sample.

    lp August 7, 2006, 4:25 pm
  • “i have taken so much pleasure in watching david and manny become the best same team tandum in the history of baseball. it seems like every couple of games they break a record set by ruth and gehrig.”
    I love the comic stylings of sf-rod. What records of Gehrig and Ruth do they break every few games? I ask this sincerely.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 4:36 pm
  • The record book that I owned as a kid made distinctions for 162-game, 154, lefty, righty etc. Not sure if that’s “official,” but it was put out by The Sporting News. There is no asterisk next to 61. It’s been removed.
    Actually, YF, according to numbers compiled by Joy of Sox and since quoted by Edes in print and on NESN, Papi:
    “Since the end of the 2004 regular season, Ortiz has come to the plate in a walk-off situations 19 times — and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI.
    “In 2005 and 2006, he is 8-for-9, with 5 HR and 15 RBI!”

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 4:54 pm
  • Paul SF,
    YF stipulated CAREER opportunities. “Since the end of 2004” is the type of selective sampling that I referred to earlier. If you are going to define someone, you can’t just pick the seasons that support your contention. Papi’s career did not begin when he arrived in Boston.

    lp August 7, 2006, 5:03 pm
  • ortiz and ramírez became the first pair of american league teammates to hit 40 home runs, have 100 RBI, and bat .300 since ruth and gehrig in 1931. this year will make four years of doing so, which is a record.

    sf rod August 7, 2006, 5:04 pm
  • lp, YF’s broader point was that looking solely at Ortiz’s successful walkoff situations doesn’t account for his overall success in those situations. Looking at those stats shows that for a long time, Ortiz has been spectacularly successful in those situations — thus magnifying the confusion as to why pitchers don’t just walk him.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 5:10 pm
  • sf rod- that is a huge step back from breaking a Ruth/Gehrig record every few days. Also, Ortiz will have to raise his batting average 10 points to be at .300 this year- while I expect him to do this, it is not the easiest thing to do in two months.

    ATX YF August 7, 2006, 5:11 pm
  • TXYF — If he is walked more, which I expect he will be, it will probably be quite easy for Ortiz to break .300 this year. Even if he’s not, Ortiz has clearly found ways to beat the shift, as he has been hitting well over .300 for at least a month…

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 5:14 pm
  • it’s not a huge step to say they are the best tandum since gehrig/ruth with the chance to shatter those records. which is essentially what i’m saying. you’re watching history, enjoy.

    sf rod August 7, 2006, 5:31 pm
  • FWIW, Ortiz was named co-AL Plaer of the Wekk with Travis Hafner.

    Paul SF August 7, 2006, 5:58 pm
  • sf-rod, not to nitpick but you said that they were becoming the best tandem in baseball history. Anyway, in recent years they’re certainly one of the best, although I wonder if the Pujols-Rolen or Pujols/Edmonds duo of a couple years ago might actually have put up even better numbers.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2006, 6:38 pm
  • Let’s not let Ortiz off the hook yet…he may not be on steroids, but ingesting dozens of hot dogs a day can give you some mighty power, I’ll tell you that.

    yankeesnj August 7, 2006, 6:41 pm
  • nick- i enjoy your stylings as well. i found this page interesting.

    sf rod August 7, 2006, 6:47 pm
  • Look at Papi’s gut. That’s evidence enough that’s he’s not on performance enhancing drugs. Performance enhancing budgers, maybe. Mmmmmmm, budgers.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 8:51 pm
  • Look at Papi’s gut. That’s evidence enough that’s he’s not on performance enhancing drugs. Performance enhancing budgers, maybe. Mmmmmmm, burgers.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 8:52 pm
  • Crap, I can’t even correctly type in a joke.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 8:52 pm
  • “Ortiz will have to raise his batting average 10 points to be at .300 this year- while I expect him to do this, it is not the easiest thing to do in two months.”
    Well, as I recall, Ted Williams was at .399 and change the last day of the season in 41 and Joe Cronin ask him if he wanted to ride the pine for the double-header the Sox were going to play that day, the reasoning was Ted would be given .400 statistically if he sat out… Teddy Ballgame played, and I believe he collected 8 hits that day to finish at the now legendary .406…
    Now I’m not saying Ortiz is the type of hitter the Splendid Splinter was, but if Ted raised his average over 6 points in just two games… Well, I feel confident two months will be more than enough time for Papi to come up to .300…
    considering, if my memory is right, Ortiz has raised his average at least 30 points in the last two months.

    Brian August 8, 2006, 12:21 am
  • Wow, i hadn’t even thought about this whole 61 thing. Ortiz probably wont make it…Maybe finish with 55… But as i read above, a record is a record…Bonds 73 and Maguire’s 70 will probably never be taken off the record books, but now a days, the court of public opinion and what people on ESPN say seem to matter more than worded records. If Ortiz hits 62 or more, and it gets the hype, it could very well be thought of as the first untainted HR record since Maris’.
    Of course there would always be the naysayers. Best possible scenario: Ortiz is at 60 with a couple games to play and the media starts asking him riods questions, he pulls a Sosa (i think it was him) and says he will piss in a cup anytime, anywhere. They take him up on his offer and follow him into the clubhouse where they literally watch him take a piss in a cup. It is given to the Doping Agency and they find it to be clean. He knocks out 2 the next day. Stephen King writes “62” and the guy from the green mile plays Ortiz and Affleck plays Epstein. This ruins the feat. The End.

    Evan SF August 8, 2006, 3:19 am
  • Michael Clarke Duncan as David Ortiz? Not sure about that…

    Paul SF August 8, 2006, 10:22 am
  • Really love the thread title. Especially after last week’s Rumble Royal III pay-per-view we had on the blog.

    Rob August 8, 2006, 7:12 pm

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