What to make of David Ortiz’s positive test in 2003 for performance enhancing drugs? Does this revelation taint the Red Sox championships? What is going to be the legacy of Big Papi?
In 1998 Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs. Is the Cardinal’s third place finish in the NL Central tainted? Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001. Are we to question the Giant’s second place finish in the NL west? My point being that ALL of major league baseball is tainted. We don’t know who was using PEDs on the ’04 Cardinals and the ’07 Rockies — the Red Sox World Series opponents in their championship years — but we can be fairly certain some of them were. And we can be fairly certain that some key Yankee players were on the juice when the Red Sox beat them in the ’04 ALCS (well, we can say we are no less certain of them as we are of Ortiz).
So, are the championships tainted? Of course they are, but they are not diminished. We know at least 104 major leaguers were using PEDs in 2003, the year the infamous anonymous testing occurred. The Detroit Tigers finished that season with a dismal total of 43 wins. While possible, the odds that no Tiger players were using PEDs that year are slim.
Has my view of the steroid era changed now that Ortiz is implicated? I don’t think so. I never said Yankee championships were tainted. Players are tainted. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez are tainted. And now so is David Ortiz. This is a stink that will and should stick with him the rest of his career and the rest of his life.
And this is the most sad part of it all. Ortiz has been — or at least appeared to be — a great citizen, a player everyone could respect. That’s gone. Not just because of the positive test, but also, and perhaps even more so, because he dissembled about this issue. He acted as if he were outraged when hearing the news that A-Rod had been implicated. And now he is pretending he was unaware of his positive test. What’s worse, being a cheat or a liar? Well, it appears that Big Papi is both.