Feb
17

What Ortiz said

By

In about four hours, Alex Rodriguez is going to face death by media. The venerable and not-so-venerable members of the sports media are going to gather in Tampa as A-Rod, flanked by a bunch of Yankee lifers, faces spontaneous questions from the keepers of the press for the first time since his televised confession to Peter Gammons last week.

When the dust settles, again, around A-Rod, the media will have cared far more than PED-fatigued fans do. A-Rod will, of course, hear boos when the Yanks hit the road, and he will probably hear boos when the Yanks return to the Bronx on April 16. But how is that different from any other year? This press conference will truly be the media trying to bury a broken man while attempting to somehow atone for decades of ignoring the clubhouse story that was unfolding right before their very eyes.

Now, we can bury the media some other time. This morning, let’s talk about someone else speaking out against steroid use in baseball. This player — a very prominent member of the Boston Red Sox — exploded onto the baseball scene in 2003, and Yankee fans always viewed this gregarious player with a raised eyebrow. Of course, that ignores the fact that he had a stellar rookie campaign, battled injuries in Minnesota and was generally misused by his manager before arriving in a hitter-friendly park with arguably the best right-handed hitter of his generation backing him up in the line up. (And that’s just a case of “who really knows?”)

Yesterday, David Ortiz criticized steroid use in baseball in a lengthy interview with Nick Cafardo. YFSF highlighted the interesting bits — and remember that A-Rod and Ortiz are very close friends:

“I think that the A-Rod situation, it was a little bit tough for the game,” Ortiz said. “Talking about the best player all the way around. At the same time, people have to give the guy credit because he came out with what he said at the point of his career where he had done it all. On top of that, that was what? Six years ago? The guy has put up numbers his whole career. It was one thing that he said that caught my attention was that he was young and at the time. . . . sometimes you make the wrong decision like he did. He’s been playing clean and he’s still producing. He’s still been the best player in the game. If I’m a fan and I had to judge the guy, I would put that in the past and move forward. The guy, he works hard, man. He’s still doing his thing. He’s still got nine more years on his contract where he’s definitely gonna do some damage still.”

[snip]

“I think you clean up the game by the testing. I test you, you test positive, you’re going to be out. Period,” Ortiz said. “If I test positive using any kind of banned substance I’m going to disrespect the game, my family, my fans and everybody. And I don’t want to face the situation so I won’t use it. I’m sure everybody is on the same page.”

“From what I’ve seen right now from the testimony that Alex gave, I would say it was very low the percentage that wasn’t using it. Like he said, that’s what was going around the league at the time. What else do you want? But in 2004 when they came out with the testing, I guarantee the percentage has been going down.”

Ortiz expressed his belief that around 80 or 90 percent of the game is now clean. Who knows if that’s naivete, undetectable designer drugs, the truth or some combination of all three? We just don’t know anymore.

Meanwhile, Paul, one of the Sox fans at YFSF, has an apt conclusion to his post on the matter. “One thing I’m surprised no one asked,” he writes, “especially given Ortiz’s previous comments about the GNC products from the Dominican, is whether he’s one of the 103 other names.”

The problem with David Ortiz’s statement is that you can’t hop in a time machine and ban everyone in 1999. You can’t really save baseball from the past. Ortiz is hitting on all the right things if you care about PED use and the pall it may or may not have cast over the game. But in the end, it’s not really Ortiz who is right.

Rather, the one person who was right is the one most overlooked and quite tarred by the scandal. On May 17, 2005, Mark McGwire said, “I’m not here to talk about the past.” That’s really the best thing right now for baseball. Officials, players, agents, owners can point as many fingers as they won’t, but the only action that will solve this PR problem is to move forward.

For now, though, we’ll just have to a few hours until A-Rod is ready to talk about the past.

Categories : STEROIDS!
  • Bo

    If there is anyone I’m sure that did juice in 2003 it is David Ortiz.

    • A.D.

      For me its Alex Rodriguez, since he has publicly admitted it

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        O.J.

    • Mike Pop

      B. Giles.

  • Joe R

    What do the press hope to gain from this? Try to get him to change his answers?Prove he’s a liar? What good is any other information about the situation going to do? He did it, he’s stupid, it happened, get over it.

    • PapelBum

      I agree 100%. But its hard to convince Morons like Mike Lupica. I hate that Mother Fucker.

      • swedski

        I agree He wants A-Roid to come clean, then rip him. Look athletes are not perfect and having a family member who worked at a stadium many years he had all kinds of stories about athletes which by chance have been true. HMMMMM suddenly where were these journalist then?? Why couldn’t they out people then. Its convient to do it now and it is driven by sales. ML is grating on my nerves right now for his high and mighty approach but as a NY journalist why wasn’t this a sore point before.
        Hey maybe I’m being hard but I am pissed at them all A-rod, baseball and the Journalists

        But then again I love American Football! Would love to have the same testing there LOL

      • Sam P.

        He’s always knife-twisting and using backhanded compliments. He’s got to be a miserable little guy, 24/7. I can’t think of anything positive that he ever writes about in more than a one-line comment.

    • A.D.

      They’re taking whats still a slow baseball time and trying to use the one story they have, there is nothing there, and it’s dumb. I find where Mark Teahan is going to play on the Royals this year more interesting that the continued PED witch hunt

  • usty

    Seriously. I just want this over. Hope he doesn’t say anything stupid and move on. The press just wants to nail him some more because they’re asses and get more people reading even if they hate them. (See me visiting lohud blog)

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      “Seriously. I just want this over. Hope he doesn’t say anything stupid and move on. “

      Zillo: You have asked us to make Alex available to you, and we have. Alex will be answering five questions and five questions only. Go.
      NYC Press Corps Member #1: Alex, specifically, which banned substances did you take?
      ARod: Both teams played hard.
      NYC Press Corps Member #2: Who in Texas provided you with the steroids?
      ARod: It was a great game, both teams played hard.
      NYC Press Corps Member #3: Are you prepared to name names of other PED users?
      ARod: Both teams played hard, my man.
      NYC Press Corps Member #4: Are you still having an affair with Madonna?
      ARod: Both teams played hard.
      NYC Press Corps Member #5: How is your relationship with Derek Jeter now?
      ARod: Great game, both teams played hard. Thank you, and God bless.

      • mustang

        LMAO…..

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Thank you, and God bless.

        A-Rod = Tim Tebow?!

      • Nady Nation

        All I want from this press conference is for someone, ANYONE, to ask A-Rod a follow-up question on the “loosey goosey” era, for no other reason than to hear him have to say the term “loosey goosey” at least one more time. Is that so much to ask?

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          John Harper, New York Post: Alex, it’s been rumored that you cheated on your wife (at the time) with pop superstar Madonna. She’s quite a few years your senior; in a word, or possibly two words hyphenated together, how would you describe the physical condition of her body?
          ARod: Umm….

          • Whitey14

            Classically hilarious!

    • mustang

      Agree. At this point this is nothing more then a witch-hunt.

      • jsbrendog

        HE TURNED ME INTO A NEWT!

        (a newt?)

        I GOT BETTA!

        • Mike Pop

          You silly sod.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Greatness-Waiting-Illustrated-History-1903-1919/dp/078643211X/ref=sr_1_1/102-9585586-0514509?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185023375&sr=8-1 Elston32

    Re-viewing part of Game 4 of the 1996 WS on ESPN Classic last night – or similar games of not so long ago – anyone would be struck by the fact that other than Fred McGriff (put him in the HOF one day) many of the players appear to have gained @ 75-100 pounds in 10-13 years time (slight exaggeration here). Like him or not at least A-Rod is facing the musi-uh, media – that an untold number of players should be facing.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      What sucks is that McGriff probably won’t get in because he didn’t reach 500 homers. Bullstuff.

      • Mike Pop

        Yep. Noone gave him a chance at the end of his career to reach it either.

        • A.D.

          Well the Dodgers & Rays did to some extent in his last 2 years in the league

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yeah. The Rays gave him a chance to get the last 9 homers he needed… and 41 year old McGriff put up a putrid .181/.272/.306/.577/.250 in 81 plate appearances. No amount of milestone chasing is worth that accumulation of suckitude in your lineup.

            That’s worse than Varitekian.

            • Spaceman.Spiff

              AndruwJonesian in fact.

            • Spaceman.Spiff

              AndruwJonesian in fact.

            • http://www.amazon.com/Greatness-Waiting-Illustrated-History-1903-1919/dp/078643211X/ref=sr_1_1/102-9585586-0514509?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185023375&sr=8-1 Elston32

              Guess you could say McGriff went into retirement like a 41 year-old not taking illegal supplements could be expected to.

              It does pain me to see Jim Rice in the HOF and not Fred.

  • Chris

    I think the issue of undetectable designer drugs is a big deal in terms of actually understanding whether the game is clean or not. Remember, Marion Jones passed a slew of drug tests before during and after the 2000 Sydney games. It wasn’t until other information came out about the BALCO labs that she was caught.

    The gold standard for drug testing is the WADA, and their annual budget is $25-30M – or basically the same as A-Rods salary. I think people who assume the game is ‘clean’ now because of drug testing are suffering from the same naivete that gripped everyone in the late 90s.

    • mustang

      Totally agree.

    • Klemy

      I just love saying “naivete”!

  • Arin

    Is anyone going to liveblog the presser?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yes. Mike will be at 1:30.

  • Rich

    No matter what any player says about the PED era (which as far as I’m concerned is still in effect), everyone is tainted because there is no way to determine if every player is clean. That’s why the clean players need to pressure the MLBPA to agree to the most stringent testing possible or allow the freezing of blood for future testing when more comprehensive assays are possible.

    Obviously, the selective release and likely violations of the law that occurred in Alex’s blood test becoming public has probably made that far less likely, but I don’t see any other way to remove the taint that is on the game.

    Alternatively, they can go in the opposite direction and legalize all PEDs.

    • usty

      Why freeze blood? Alls that does is open you up to tearing off the scab when someone else from 6 years ago gets outed for something that was undetectable. It’s time to neosporin this bitch and let it heal.

      • Rich

        Because it puts players on notice that cheating with undetectable substances the present day could be revealed in the future, thereby theoretically having a deterrent effect.

        My only point is be honest: either go all out to remove the steroid taint or admit that there will always be a taint and allow all PEDs.

        Every other course of action is a PR ploy.

        • usty

          It’ll never be a deterrent for the mid-level guy. The guy trying to string out another year in the majors making huge $$. The only players affected by this “taint” with any real issues are the guys who everyone annointed “Future Hall-of-Famers.” Seriously. If I’m going to end my career with a 97 ERA+ and I can pop a pill or take a needle to get one more year at a couple million dollars and it won’t be detectable for years? Who cares, I’ll be on my island or hocking cars for some local dealership I bought or crap. I’ll still be rich and no one will care.

          • Rich

            The perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good.

            If there is a better idea, I’m open to hear it.

            • usty

              Frankly, I prefer your let them use whatever the hell they want plan.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                If I was a major league player, whether I used PED’s or not, I’d hate that plan. I want stringent drug testing in sports to stop other players from useing PED’s to keep me from feeling like I need to contemplate PED’s in effort to keep up.

                While I think ARod, Bonds, Clemens, etc. have been dragged over the coals excessively, I also think steroids have a damaging effect on players and the union should be battling to have them outlawed for the long-term-health consequences they pose to their players. Had there been a comprehensive, effective steroids testing policy and punishment system in place two decades ago, there’s a good chance that Ken Caminiti may still be alive today.

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  the union should be battling to have them outlawed for the long-term-health consequences they pose to their players.

                  That would only be true if the union actually cared about the long-term-health consequences of its members. In reality, they only care about the salaries of its current members.

  • mustang

    “A-Rod will, of course, hear boos when the Yanks hit the road, and he will probably hear boos when the Yanks return to the Bronx on April 16. But how is that different from any other year? ”

    I think this is a bit of an understatement. It’s going to be a massacre on the road to point where it even might get dangerous. I mean fans were throwing syringes at Bonds at one point. Don’t underestimated the stupidly of Red Nation. The first trip to Fenway is going be a nightmare.

    • Whitey14

      Ouch Mustang!

      Unfortunately, you’re right though. This is something lesser fans will cling to. I used the term A-Roid the day I heard the news and a couple of times since his confession, but I’d like to think I’m over it now.

      Let’s play ball!!

      By the way, nice article Ben. Thanks for summarizing Ortiz’s pre-Red Sox career in perfect terms.

  • Let’s Talk About TEX Baby

    Fans who get on opposing players for steroid use, whether its the Dodger fans with Bonds or the Red Sox fans with Giambi and now undoubtedly Arod look like absolute morons because anyone with any intelligence and dignity at all would realize players on their team have done/are doing the same thing.

    There’s testing in baseball, there’s testing in the NFL, there’s testing in the Olympics… athletes in every sport still use PED’s. There should be testing because it deters and catches a few but the drugs are always way ahead of the testing. It’s 2009. There is too much money and fame at stake for athletes not to do anything possible to get an edge. PED’s in sports are something that fans just need to accept. They’re not going anywhere. Hopefully when the season starts the media will leave us alone and let us enjoy it.

    On another note, it would make sense for a player who’s on the 104 list to just come out and admit it. Those names are going to get leaked eventually so a guy who admitted being on it without being outed first would look almost heroic and he’d avoid a lot of the nonsense that Arod’s going through right now.

    • jsbrendog

      dude, i was at fenway when straw played rf for the yankees and that was absolutely obscene. this will make that quite possibly look like tea time. sometimes i think boston fans are worse rabble than philly fans. theni realize philly actually needs that jail in their stadium

      • Brad

        Lets face it the story IS about A-Rod and is not really about PED’s. The media will have a field day because every time A-Rod opens his mouth he inserts his foot. The guy is a walking gold mine for reporters, and it won’t just be “sports reporters” either. I have never seen a guy draw so much negative attention to himself. No matter how hard he tries he always end’s up making it worse for himself.

        There is nothing he can say today that will make any real difference. He should just release a statement and play ball, but I fear the more he says the longer it will take for this to go away. I love his game but it is hard to fathom 9 more years of this.

        • steve (different one)

          The media will have a field day because every time A-Rod opens his mouth he inserts his foot.

          can’t disagree.

          i have to think today’s charade will be HIGHLY scripted.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      LIAR! TAKE THAT BACK!!! NO RED SOX PLAYER WOULD EVER USE STEROIDS!!!

      Steroids = not gritty gamerism
      Red Sox = nothing but gritty gamers
      Red Sox =/= steroids

      Q.E.D.

      For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, ESPN.

  • pete

    Did anybody see Brian Bruney on Hot Stove last night? Funny guy. Absolutely owned Harold Reynolds for saying that the yankees needed to move joba back to the pen. Said as a Mariners fan growing up he had totally forgotten that Harold was on the team. Ghettowned.

  • MattG

    Fact: An overwhelming majority of people learn all they know about the world (including sports) from mainstream media, including newspaper, TV and radio. FACT.

    Fact: These MSM outlets are all owned by 4 major corporations, with their own agendas and responsibilities towards stakeholders. FACT.

    Fact: These two factors cause a dangerous shift towards sensationalization, which benefits no one. FACT.

    It is much easier to sell papers by ripping down a famous name, than it is to systematically unravel a series of denials in an industry that people do not understand, run by people no one ever heard of. No newspaper editor would keep his job very long if he allowed some sports ‘journalist’ months to track down the real steroid story, which would necessarily need to implicate the owners and union above all. And no newspaper journalist would keep his job very long without getting daily quotes from the players, leaving them no time to do this reporting.

    If you want to know what is going on, newspapers are worthless, and this presser today is worthless. Thankfully, there are now alternatives.

    What to you think will be the first industry to completely refuse access to the mainstream media? When do you think it will happen?

  • Bostowned

    I like this blog and generally read it a few times a day. I comment from time to time, basically just to chime in with a witty and most times, humorous remark about the current topic. I the last couple weeks (since Arods ousting) I haven’t been able to watch ESPN (Entirely Sox Peoples Network) for a few years now and have completely sworn them off during baseball season. As expected, they are hanging Arod as if he confessed to murdering his wife or something. MLB Network talks about it most of the time on Hot Stove, not to mention their ticker. Everyone has pretty much called the 2009 season a bust because no team can possible succeed with so much controversy following them around. As a sad Yankee fan, I’m inclined to agree.

    In my humble opinion, I believe the rest of the 103 players needs to be released. For the good of baseball. If we dont get it out there then we will hear about it forever. “Player X may also be linked to the 2003 list of 104 players who tested positive for…..” We’ll hear it again and again and again. And it will become an easy way to bring down a potential hall of famer or MVP or whomever. Lets, for instance say Albert Pujols is on the ballot for the HOF next year. Hes made some enemies over his career and wasn’t too ‘press friend’ in the final 2 years of his career. So some reporter falsely links him to the 2003 list. That’s all it takes.
    And don’t give me this “honor amongst journalists” BS, if a reporter can make a buck by destroying some big sports figure, they do it. Seriously, by telling the world that Arod was on a list that has never been released to the public; virtually making it impossible to prove her wrong or correct; does what exactly? Does it do anything for baseball? Anything for Arod? Anything for the commissioner? How about the government? So who does it help then? Selena Roberts and her Arod book sales…that’s it. I digress.

    Fair or unfair. The agreement with the MLBPA and Owners regarding this list has been violated and more then once. MLB needs to just release it to the public, let it all hang out and tell everyone were moving forward. If not, every time someone is looked upon as a clean player, every time a team seems just too good, every time a pitcher seems to be throwing way to hard for way to long; that list will be referenced. Its the best thing for baseball, the best thing for the commissioner and the best thing for Arod.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      David Ortiz = should and will be the 45th President of the United States; the only man with the purity of thought and testicular fortitude necessary to fix the evil taint of steroids on baseball as well as singlehandedly pull America out of this economic crisis

      ARod = baby raper

  • jsbrendog

    PLEASE GOD LET THEM START FUCKING PLAYING BASEBALL!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS FUCKING RIVERA JUST PLAY BALL AND END THIS STUPIDITY!!!! I DONT CARE ANYMORE!!!.

    sorry. im ok now.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Man, JSB, you got mental problems, man.

      • Mike Pop

        Yea, you got mental problemsm, man.

        • jsbrendog

          but i am always punctual.

          • Mike Pop

            Great story. Compelling, and rich.

  • JohnnyC

    As evidenced by the heavy-handed and one-sided Mitchell Report, who’s to say that this isn’t what Selig and MLB wants? Selig’s been intent on destroying the Yankees’ primacy in the sport since the day he took office. The interests of a sports journalist looking for a big payday and a commissioner looking to off-load all responsibility on a single team in an era of acknowledged pandemic use have dovetailed perfectly. You won’t see the rest of the 103 names outed by any effort on the part of MLB. Likely, it’ll come when some other “journalist” sees a potential goldmine in outing another famous player. But, if you recall Joe Torre’s tome, no one’s going to pay top dollar for a bunch of no-names on the Pirates or the White Sox, for instance. I’m sure there are Selena Roberts-wanna-bes trying to get the dirt on Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera as we speak. Ironically, it’s a sign of how it’s really all about the Yankees that an article outing David Ortiz for HGH would be buried on page 4, much to Red Sox Nation’s simultaneous delight and dismay.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
        • Klemy

          By far, my favorite part is:

          “When reporters attempted to bail Ortiz out by asking leading questions concerning the many barriers Robinson broke, Ortiz responded by saying he had heard the news, that he certainly hoped Robinson would be okay, and that Jackie should not have been driving drunk in the first place.”

  • Pingback: The A-Rod Extravaganza! | Yankees Rumors - NYYankeesRumors.com

  • nick blasioli

    ortiz better watch what the hell he is saying…there are 103 more names on the list…and i wouldnt be surprised if there were some redsox on the list….

    • Whitey14

      I would be surprised if there weren’t some Red Sox on the list….

      However, if Papi is a man of principle (sorry TSJC, here I go again), he’d agree that the same penalties should be imposed no matter what team somebody plays for. If he feels a yankee should be suspended he’d better feel the same way about a red sock.

      I do think him speaking up probably confirms he wouldn’t be on the list from 2003. He obviously now knows there are people with access to the list who lack the necessary scruples to live up to the legal agreement to not share the information contained within. Why would he risk going public on a soap box now only to be found guilty later?

      They still need to find/use a test for HGH and they need tostop random testing and test everybody several times throughout the year, not just during the season.