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Happy Wednesday morning, folks. Hope all is well.

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...

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Welcome to immortality, David Ortiz. In his first year on the ballot, the longtime Red Sox slugger was the only player selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Ortiz received 77.9 percent of the vote, just surpassing the 75 percent required. The all-time ranks speak for themselves:

  • Eighth in extra-base hits
  • 12th in doubles
  • 17th in home runs
  • 23rd in RBI
  • 26th in slugging percentage
  • 32nd in total bases

But it's his postseason prowess that stands out for our MLB expert R.J. Anderson:

  • Anderson: "Of course, part of Ortiz's legend centers on his penchant for big home runs, especially in the postseason. He appeared in 85 playoff games during his career, amassing a .289/.404/.543 slash line with 17 home runs. He won three World Series with the Red Sox and twice claimed an MVP Award for his play during pivotal series: the first coming in the 2004 AL Championship Series, and the second during the 2013 World Series. Ortiz homered twice and drove in six over the course of 16 at-bats."

You can check out the full voting results here.

It is important to note that Ortiz is the first player to enter the Hall of Fame who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days. In 2009, it was reported that Ortiz was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003. However, the results of the tests were meant to be confidential. MLB screened the players to determine the extent of PED use, and used that information as the basis to create the current drug policy.

However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred came to Big Papi's defense in 2016, saying that the round of testing may not have been reliable. It is still a big deal, though, when (as you'll see in a second) you look at the players who did not get the call into the Hall of Fame last night.

Honorable mentions:

And not such a good morning for...

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On the other hand, both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens missed out on the Hall of Fame in their 10th and final year on the ballot. Bonds received 66 percent of the vote, while Clemens was at 65.2.

Here's a friendly reminder:

  • Bonds hit more home runs and won more MVPs than any other player
  • Clemens won more Cy Young awards than any other player

Yet they're both not in the Hall of Fame and their shots to get voted in by the BBWAA ended last night. This goes back to a 2014 rule change that limited candidates to 10 years on the ballot, down from 15. It was a hypocritical change that leaves two of the sport's greatest talents on the outside looking in, our MLB expert Matt Snyder writes:

  • Snyder: "Whether we go back to Pud Galvin (a Hall of Famer, by the way) in the 1880s pumping monkey testosterone into his body or we discuss the rampant use of amphetamines ("greenies") in (Joe) Morgan's era, no time period in baseball history is 'clean.' None. And it is here that I'll remind everyone that Bud Selig was put into the Hall of Fame by a Hall-appointed veteran committee. Selig was the commissioner when the so-called PED era exploded in Major League Baseball."

Of course, what hurt Bonds and Clemens most among voters is that they are both basically the poster children of MLB's steroid era. Both players have never admitted to using PEDs, but the allegations surrounding them have been well-documented in books and even courtrooms. But unlike Ortiz, Bonds and Clemens never tested positive for PEDs.

There are other ways Bonds and Clemens could be selected to the Hall, but for them to not be selected via BBWAA vote is a bad look for baseball. 

Not so honorable mention:

Sean Payton steps away as Saints head coach. What's his next move? 🏈

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The Saints are in the market for a new head coach. Sean Payton announced Tuesday he is stepping away -- at least for this season -- ending a remarkable 15 seasons in the Big Easy.

Over that span, Payton:

  • Won 152 regular-season games, tied for 21st all-time
  • Won 9 postseason games, tied with all-time greats John Madden and Vince Lombardi (among others) for 19th all-time
  • Led the Saints to a Super Bowl XLIV triumph, their only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history
  • Took the Saints to the playoffs nine times; they had only made five trips in franchise history prior to his hiring

Payton did not rule out a return to coaching at his press conference Tuesday.

  • Payton: "I don't like the word 'retirement.' I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I'll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point."

Though the Saints missed the playoffs for the first time in four years, 2021 was one of Payton's best coaching jobs. Since 2000, 14 different teams have started at least four different quarterbacks in a single season. Only three finished over .500, and that includes the 2021 Saints, who rolled out Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian, Ian Book and Taysom Hill under center at one point or another.

Anyway, Payton is a really good coach, and in a vacuum, it's a bummer to lose him on the sidelines one year after Drew Brees' retirement.

  • The Brees-Payton partnership yielded just the one Super Bowl, and in the tandem's last four years (2017-20), the Saints went an NFL-best 49-15 in the regular-season but just 3-4 in the postseason.
  • But three of those four losses -- the Minneapolis Miracle in 2017, the blatant missed pass interference call in 2018 and Kyle Rudolph's game-winner in 2019 -- came on the last play of the game.
  • So as good as the run was, it could have -- and maybe should have -- been even better.

Now, the Saints are in a tough spot. They're projected to be more than $70 million over the salary cap and have major quarterback questions. Even with offensive stars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas and a very good defense, New Orleans will have to work salary cap magic once again if it wants to remain competitive -- and that could be a big "if." Rebuilding is a legitimate option.

All those factors make the Saints just the sixth-most appealing option in our NFL head coach opening rankings. As for who may fill that opening, NFL reporter Tyler Sullivan has four candidates who immediately come to mind. Oh, and one final thing: Should Payton return to coaching, NFL scribe Cody Benjamin thinks the Cowboys could be a good fit. I can hear the hot takes already.

Who's most to blame for the Lakers' mess? 👀

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Even with a win over the Nets last night, the Lakers are just 24-24 this season and look far from the title contender they were expected to be.

Who's to blame? Our NBA columnist Bill Reiter ranked the top five most at fault, and while he assigned some blame to Russell Westbrook, he says it's another star who is the culprit of the team's struggles.

  • Reiter: "1. LeBron James -- Nothing happens in L.A. without LeBron's say-so. This is the third deep irony of the Lakers debacle. A big part of the reason LeBron came to L.A. -- and why the Lakers recently won that championship -- was because of that culture of star empowerment that the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss championed a generation ago; that his daughter Jeanie Buss retained and fostered; and that LeBron has advocated for during his reign in the league... This is LeBron's team. And he's the No. 1 reason it's not very good right now."

What we're watching Wednesday 📺

🏀 No. 17 Providence at No. 21 Xavier, 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Knicks at Heat, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Texas A&M at No. 19 LSU, 9 p.m. on SEC Network
🏀 Suns at Jazz, 10 p.m. on ESPN