Last week David Ortiz put himself into the news when no one asked him to. John Lackey made comments that alluded to steroids and Nelson Cruz when the Red Sox were playing the Orioles. In turn, Buck Showalter reminded him that the Red Sox have had their own share of steroid allegations – again, without mentioning steroids at all. David Ortiz took it upon himself to answer to the media for the subtle hint by saying he did not receive a “free pass” and that fingers were pointed at him without any proof.
With the known knowledge of the rampant use of steroids in the late 90s and early 2000s, we are still relatively unclear on who took what during that time period. We may never know, but there was a list 104 players that tested positive for banned substances in 2003. None other than Boston’s favorite portly loudmouth, David Ortiz has been confirmed to be on that list. Now I’m not chiding Ortiz for taking steroids, a large percentage of baseball did. I also cannot say the Red Sox need to have their 2004 World Series taken away because Manny Ramirez and Ortiz were the ones who got them there. The Yankees have obviously had a number of steroid users. With all that said, Ortiz needs to stop acting like only 103 of the 104 names should be on that list.
Some readers may not remember, but Ortiz began his career with the Minnesota Twins. Why is that easy to forget? Because he wasn’t nearly the same player there that he was after he got to Boston and met Manny Ramirez. In 2000 with Minnesota, Ortiz hit .282 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI. In 2004 with Boston, Ortiz hit .301 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI. The following two years he hit 47 and 54 home runs. Now I do not know more than anyone else when it comes to inside knowledge of steroids, but between the change in his stats and HIS NAME BEING ON A LIST OF STEROID USERS something tells me he has had a needle in his butt once or twice.
Ortiz has been a great rallying point for the city of Boston. He never minces his words, and he had a great off the cuff speech following the Boston Bombing in 2013, which really helped the city rally around the team. Unfortunately, he talks too much for his own good concerning baseball. Whether it’s his use of steroids in the early 2000s and maybe later, or calling out umpires to the point that Joe Torre had to tell Ortiz to keep his thoughts to himself, he is clearly mouthing off in old age like Chipper Jones started to in his final years.
I cannot wait until more details concerning the 104 positive tests come out. For now, Ortiz can hide behind ESPN promoting the Red Sox and its players enough that fans and media have fallen in love with Ortiz and the media is afraid to probe him for his alleged steroid use. He has had beyond a free pass. He is being heralded as a leader of the game while other steroid users are hated for what they have done. Until the 2003 report is brought to the public with more details, Boston, and the country, will love the fat DH that plays in Fenway.