To admit, to deny or to avoid

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“Careless” is an easy word to employ as a defense against a failed PED test. Just ask David Ortiz.

“I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter,” the Red Sox DH said yesterday as he offered up a half-hearted explanation of his failed 2003 PED test. With the Players Union looking over his shoulder, Ortiz stressed his desire for “more information” concerning his failed test and claimed he wasn’t a steroid user.

No one was really buying it. Even with PA General Counsel Michael Weiner force-feeding everyone ready-made excuses — Ortiz can’t get the information he needs to defend himself — the attempts to deflect guilt sounded empty.

Across the park, in a manner of speaking, was another star who found himself outed for a failed 2003 PED test. Alex Rodriguez says he slept through David Ortiz’s press conference. A-Rod also says he feels unencumbered by steroid use after his Spring Training admission of guilt. “I took a lot of things off my chest and, to me, since that press conference, I felt like a new man,” Rodriguez said to Jack Curry yesterday. “I feel like I’ve been embraced by not only the city of New York, but my teammates, my coaches and my manager. I just feel liberated by just the way I came out and did things.”

Ortiz, meanwhile, will try to move on. Since The Times outed him on July 31, he is just 4 for 35 with a home run and a double. Against the Yanks this weekend, he is 1 for 14 with 1 walk. Distracted, slumping, or finished. Pick one. Or more.

Ortiz’s faux-admission press conference, coming just under 12 hours after Alex Rodriguez delivered a dramatic win for the Yanks on Friday night, provides a juxtaposition for the steroid era. A-Rod joined Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi as players willing to admit to illicit drug use. David Ortiz joined Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and, to a degree, Roger Clemens as players never willing to admit to any wrong-doing.

The players who dance around the issue curry no favor with anyone while the players who fess up to something of the truth earn a modicum of respect. In the end, that’s how it should work. But though years have elapsed since Game of Shadows, the Steroid Era won’t end. Names drip out. Players don’t know how to respond. One day, it will all be over, and with each name, it inches closer to the end. Yet, Ortiz’s PED dance yesterday showed just far away that day is.

This weekend, the Yankees are beating the Red Sox on the field when they need to the most. They’re also beating them off the field and in front of the PED-tainted microphones. I don’t like seeing the game’s faces taken down, but at least our guys have been mostly honest when it came time to face the music.

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Sabathia dominates BoSox for third win of the series
Getting to know Aroldis Chapman
  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Alex is such a different guy this year, and I’m sure the PED admission played into it. He’s yet to put his foot in his mouth, like he so often did in his first 5 seasons with the Yanks.

    LoHud did a nice piece on him today, check it out.

    http://www.lohud.com/article/2.....he-talking

    • Jeremy

      It is a nice piece (especially coming from the hyper-critical PeteAbe), but in the end it’s all BS, isn’t it?

      ARod is still being coached on how to present himself, just now he’s listening to the team’s media guy and not outside advisors.

      The perception that ARod is no longer putting his foot in his mouth is just that, a perception. It’s not like he was going around saying awful things before; the media took just about anything he said (“I’d like Reyes on our team”) and portrayed it as narcissistic. If this media perception of him has changed, great, we won’t have to read any more tired stories about him only caring about his stats. But that was all crap to begin with. The real issues are whether he was honest about his PED use and will give the Yankees a good return on their huge investment in him.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

        Yeah, of course its all spin on some level, but I assume that people know that already. The non-stop distraction that was Alex Rodriguez has been non-existent this year, despite having a very famous girlfriend and a (somewhat) down year at the plate. Give credit to the Yanks and Alex for getting the issues with him and his publicity people figured out.

        • Jeremy

          The non-stop distraction is gone because, for whatever reason (possibly because of stories like Manny getting suspended and Manny and Ortiz being on the List, or maybe just plain old attrition), the media has stopped obsessing over ARod. The fodder for stories is still there.

          • Kat

            I think a lot of the distraction is gone because the team is now in first place. I think a lot of the media fodder over A-Rod was because they wanted to make him and the distractions he bring the cause for not winning or being in first place. Since we’re winning, there’s no need for a scapegoat, so no A-Rod stories.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    BTW-Welcome back, Ben.

  • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

    I thought it was funny that he said he eats better now so he doesn’t taken anything. My wife even laughed at that.

    I do wish that someone would have asked him about his relationship with that dominican trainer who MLB banned. His press conference was 30 minutes when A-Rod’s was an hour I believe.

  • Zack

    Dont know what I tested positive for, but I never bought steroids. The End.
    And sense he’s likable and a hero everyone gives him a pass and focuses more on the list and who outed him than the player himself.

  • GG

    A-Rod tells tale of how he got into some PED’s, and leaves out all the details, b/c it is his life, and doesnt think he needs to tell the world everything about it…….Ortiz lies through his teeth (most likely), says he never took anything, and was careless about supplement use, when he had chances to say that last week, and couldnt even get that poorly concocted tale together on the spot…..Yet A-Rod is trashed in the media and everyone on ESPN and the like go on about how he has more questions to answer, Papi on the other hand is a tell all saint?

    • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

      I never really thought ESPN was that bias against the Yanks until I started watching closely.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        I personally enjoyed how when guys like Justice and A-Rod were outing as PED guys, every highight clip they showed while talking about them had them in a Yankee uniform even though they used with other clubs.

        David Justice in a Yankee uniform? He was here for like, 1.5 yrs of a 15 yr career.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Yeah, I was pretty peeved by that.

        • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

          True. I do wish one of the NY media guys yesterday would have asked him so how can you explain going from a guy who was cut to an All Star in just 1 year?

      • Tank the Frank

        Where have you been?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      One guy (Ortiz) is L-O-V-E-D by the media, his teammates and many players around the league, wheras Alex is an OK guy who is liked by some teammates and a few players around the league.

      That affects how these things get covered, the context.It’s not a Yank-Sox thing.

      • JohnnyC

        Was he L-O-V-E-D when he wore that Twins uniform for 6 long years of mediocrity? Rhetorical question.

  • James

    What I really…really loved is when he said that “people” and “companies” would give him stuff and he would take it. There was NO sense of personal responsiblity at all hearing Big Sloppy…it was the amorphous “people” these “companies” that did it to him. I am sorry but being ignorent is not an excuse!!

  • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

    Ortiz will just hit his way through this. If anyone has the personality to weather this storm with his bat it’s Big Papi.

    /BBTN’d

  • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

    I actually heard a SportCenter anchor refer to Ortiz as “The Lovable User”. WTF?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Wow.

    • Whitey14

      That’s unfortunate Mike, but the media does latch on to charismatic players and tend to let them slide when they shouldn’t.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      Ugh. I know what they’re trying to say (see above) but that just comes across horribly.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      And this after the “boli boli boli”? Why bother hiding it, ESPN, just wear Sox caps on air!

      • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

        Yeah! I also heard that “Boli boli boli” and thought I must have heard wrong. I couldn’t believe it.

        • BklynJT

          This is your problem, you actually listen to ESPN and visit ESPN.com.

          Just boycott it like I have for the past 2 years and these things wont bother you.

          • Tank the Frank

            I really need to take that advice. I was on the verge of trying to start a website – much like FireJoeMorgan.com – that would document all these instances of ESPN bias. Every Yankee-hating snide remark, every time Peter Gammons overvalues a Red Sox player, and all the double-standards that are embodied with the A-Rod/Ortiz steroid issue.

            But, on second thought, I’m just going to stop watching. Because I know what to expect.

  • http://AOL Jim Kaufman

    I’m old enough to remember the McCarthy Hearings and what a goat rope they were. What happened in 2003 is the union was strong enough to create ambiguous conditions for the recorded test. They and let’s be specific here…The Union was the one that made sure the list was to be confidential. The union was the one that made sure that the results were to be confidential especially with regard to the WHAT. Remember in 2003 the WHAT was still in question. Some of the players who’s named have leaked out have done just what the media hoped they would do. Try to come clean and move on as the GUILTY ones will.

    Here we have the situation of the condemed man going to the gallows continuing to say he was not guilty. Ask the prision population how many of them think they are innocent and you’ll come close to understanding the Ortiz situation. He is at least getting reasonable advise. Shut up and hopefully it will go away.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      Actually, if you’ve ever been to the Spy Museum in DC you’d know that there were highly placed Communists in FDR’s administration who were feeding info to the Soviets for years. McCarthy’s hearings got off track, but they weren’t baseless at the start.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Off track? He ripped apart the entire State Department, rendering it essentially impotent, and destroyed the lives of hundreds of bright, patriotic Americans who made the mistake of thinking.

  • Whitey14

    First, I’m not defending Ortiz, let’s make sure that’s clear. I feel like he could have given that answer last week if he indeed feels it’s the truth and I don’t believe it is the truth.

    That said, to say the Yankees who have been caught have been “mostly honest” is laughable at best. None of them said anything until rumors surfaced or they were faced with an impending report that was leaked before it’s release.

    There is NO high road here so people need to stop trying to create one. If one of them had come out before the testing and said they took some form of PED’s, then I’d respect him for being honest about it. But anybody who confesses after a positive test, was hiding it and in no way was that honest. Yes, I would prefer the guy tell the truth when faced with the evidence, but in no way would it garner my respect. They all cheated. Misuse of prescription drugs, or illicit/illegal drugs has been against MLB rules since the cocaine scandal in the 80’s.

    You can’t turn this into a Boston/New York thing or a “your guys aren’t as honest as our guys” thing. Everybody that used, cheated, and the color of their uniform doesn’t make it any better, or worse. The fact that Players Association is bringing forth new evidence about the testing now is foolish. If they had the numbers they gave out yesterday when the first player was illegaly outed from that list and didn’t share them, then that’s just disgusting. As far as Ortiz getting it easy from the media, I predicted that last week, but that doesn’t mean I condone it. Some players are more likable then others and they get a pass. Nobody has been talking about Manny either, whereas I wish he get fried mercilessly.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      +1

    • Pasqua

      Excellent.

    • http://phabfour.blogspot.com/ Double-J

      I think Manny is getting ignored a bit primarily because a.) the steroid suspension earlier this year already put him in the “user” category and b.) the Yanks-Sox series is already tearing up the ESPN tv and airwaves, so it’s on the frontburner.

      Not saying he shouldn’t be grilled, obviously, just that it seems like he’s (conveniently?) lost in the shuffle.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    I…did not have ###…with that woman.

    • Whitey14

      IETC, such great memories!

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Buster Olney basically said that it’s A-Rod’s fault (and others) that no one believes Ortiz because Alex lied to Katie Couric.

    • http://www.twitter.com/shaked RichYF

      And Giambi’s and Palmeiro’s.

      He’s a victim here. If everyone else just told the truth like he is then nobody would be questioning his credibility. He’s a victim of circumstance, really. Poor guy. I feel for him.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Can’t believe they didn’t ‘find’ a pic of Raffy in pinstripes.

        /revisionist history’d

    • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

      I’m surprised they didn’t Photoshop a Yankees cap on Palmeiro.

    • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

      Ortiz lied to and said that he never used anything. The union is trying to do damage control and say oh these players never knew that they tested positive. I’m sorry but I find that very hard to believe.

  • E-ROC

    I guess David Ortiz misremembers what he took to test positive.

    • http://phabfour.blogspot.com/ Double-J

      Probably like misreading a pregnancy test, amirite?

  • JohnnyC

    Personally, I’d like to get more information. I’m not getting any answers to questions I never bothered to ask in the first place. Strange, ain’t it?

  • Charlie

    great post. in the end, none of these guys are gonna be remembered positively but hopefully people do recognize who admitteed their mistakes. big papi is a fraud, more and more so every day

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      They’ll be remembered positively.

      Testing positively.

  • Mike HC

    Come on now. A-Rod’s interview was as much bullshit as Ortiz’s. A-Rod’s was actually more bullshit because the more he talked, the more he lied.

    To me, the joke is that we are making our baseball superstars even do this. They are the scapegoats for the entire sport of baseball. PED’s became a part of the game. Owners endorsed using them behind closed doors. Now, instead of the owners stepping up and taking responsibility, they let the players take the fall for them. PED use is still wide spread in all sports, making all these apologies/admissions, even more hollow.

    • Memo

      I don’t think Alex’s press conference was as much bullshit as:

      I don’t know what I took but I never took steroids.

      Since he’s yet to test positive again there was something he took back then that he doesn’t take now that there is testing. Just how much shit was he taking from people and companies that sent him things?

      • Mike HC

        Personally, I think A-Rod is still on something, probably HGH or some type of testosterone that is undetectable or maskable. Him, Pujols, LeBron, Wade, Howard, Tiger, Kobe, the William sisters, Kurt Warner, etc… I could go on forever, all use something that fans would consider PED’s, whether it be for strength, endurance, stamina, healing ability etc … I may be in the far minority in thinking like this, but that is just the way I think it is.

        • Tank the Frank

          You’re an idiot. Testosterone that is undetectable? Do some research.

          • Mike HC

            It can be masked by using other substances

            • V

              Wow. The level of ignorance you display is beyond fascinating.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                So thinking that players are taking undetectable steroids, or that they’re cycling in a manner which makes them less apt to be detected by tests, is ignorant?

                • V

                  You can’t elevate your testosterone levels and hide it from tests that detect testosterone levels.

                  No, it’s PERFECTLY REASONABLE to say that EVERY SINGLE SUPERSTAR IN SPORTS is using undetectable steroids. Yeah, that’s PERFECTLY FUCKING REASONABLE.

                  “Him (ARod), Pujols, LeBron, Wade, Howard, Tiger, Kobe, the William sisters, Kurt Warner, etc… I could go on forever, all use something that fans would consider PED’s, whether it be for strength, endurance, stamina, healing ability etc.”

                  Sorry, that’s fucking stupid. And I’ll call it as such.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  “You can’t elevate your testosterone levels and hide it from tests that detect testosterone levels.”

                  I’m pretty sure you can. Like Mike, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure there are ways, whether with additional chemicals or with cycling methods, which can help you pass a test.

                  Also, he never said they were all on steroids. He said that they use something fans would consider PEDs. I won’t say I’d suspect everyone, but I’d definitely say that no one is above suspicion.

                • Mike HC

                  I know I am in the far minority and you can call me stupid if you want. It does not bother me. I just don’t like being fooled or naive. And just because baseball players have been exposed, does not mean it is limited to that sport. The same performance improvements that took place in baseball took place in all of the sports, most notable basketball and football. I refuse to pretend like these guys are all not on something. Just look at them. The evidence is right in front of our eyes. But I know I am a skeptic and cynic. And I accept that many people will call me crazy for thinking it.

                • V

                  You can cycle, but the cycling isn’t something like ‘take steroids today, take fertility drug tomorrow, pass testosterone test the next day’.

                  We’re talking month-long cycles. Take a test during the month, you’re branded a big fat fail.

                • Mike HC

                  if you agree that you can take testosterone at any point to improve your body, and then pass a MLB test at some point during the season by cycling, then you agree with me. And that is just one way to do it according to a RAB poster. Imagine what the pros know how to do.

                • V

                  :shakes head:

                  I bet ARod is tested more than once a season.

                  No, of course, every fucking superstar in sports is using, competing in international competitions, and getting away with it. You’re totally 100% right.

                • Mike HC

                  I don’t expect many people to agree with me. I’m not trying to convince you really.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  Also, blood doping is undetectable by any MLB test. So there’s that.

                • DF

                  Blood doping would do next to nothing to help a baseball player. It’s not an endurance sport.

              • Mike HC

                I’m not a PED expert, but I do know that you can take testosterone and still pass the not very hard to pass MLB/NBA etc … you can pass by using other substances to mask the increased testosterone levels. I have been called an ignorant idiot, but neither of you guys has told me how I am so wrong. If you guys would do some research you would see that while it is hard to mask testosterone, it can be done using a couple of different methods. And when the top guys like BALCO and the unknown people who have taken BALCO’s place, put all their effort into passing these drug tests, you better believe they have come up with methods to pass these tests that are not even public knowledge.

                • V

                  Yes, EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SUPERSTAR in sports is using. Sorry, how could I be so stupid?

                • V

                  Let’s just stop watching sports. They’re all just roid freaks, anyway.

                • V

                  Yes, you can mask the testosterone surge AFTER the testosterone surge has happened (for example, Manny’s ‘fertility drug’, which he took AFTER taking steroids this past offseason).

                  You ain’t going to be taking steroids DURING the season.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  How do you know this?

                  Also, your above comment about roids freaks is a complete strawman.

                • V

                  “I’m not a PED expert”

                  As I said, ignorant.

                  I didn’t call anyone an idiot. I called them ignorant. Admitting you’re not an expert = ignorant. Sorry.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  You’re making assertions too, and I don’t see your credentials in the matter.

                • V

                  K.

                • Mike HC

                  None of us have ever had a job in MLB, or see what goes on behind the scenes in the Yankee clubhouse. Under your standard of ignorance, almost every comment ever made on RAB has been ignorant.

                • V

                  You don’t know what others know. But you can try to not make outlandish accusations from ignorance.

                  Btw, I’ve worked with a couple sports leagues (not MLB – they don’t hire outside consultants).

                • Mike HC

                  I am not really making accusations from my perspective. I don’t really think using PED’s is that big of a deal if you do it safely and in moderation. Steroid abuse is when you get the problems. It seems like advancement in medicine to me, but I can understand how others see it differently.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            Uh, cool it with the name calling.

            Why does everyone think that anyone who says anything they don’t believe is an idiot? I don’t get it.

            • Mike HC

              thanks for backing me up, even if you don’t totally agree with me

      • Jeremy

        Bottom line: who the hell knows?

        I don’t find Ortiz’s story entirely incredible. He could have been in denial. He knew he was probably taking a banned substance but remained willfully ignorant of its contents.

        That scenario wouldn’t make him any less guilty, but it would make him honest in a vague sense.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of players deliberately obtained their PEDs in a way that left them unable to know exactly what they were taking. ARod described a situation like that, albeit unarticulately.

  • Januz

    Guys like Ortiz make me sick, all they do is play dumb when they get caught (Like Sammy Sosa, who “Forgot” how to speak English). This is a multi-millionaire athlete whose body brought him riches. You would think he would be careful about what he put into his body, because of the risk that it would be harmful? Give me a break. He is no more naive than Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, Palmeiro and all the rest.
    What is pathetic is the way the mainstream media (Except to their credit the Boston Globe), buy everything he says hook, line, and sinker. Of course, they fawn over everything Boston does like referring to Theo Epstein as the “Boy Genius” and praising his moves like the signing of John Smoltz.

  • Pasqua

    The thing about the press conference that got me aggravated was when Ortiz said that he waited a week to speak because he wanted to “find out what he had done” and “find out what happened”; however, about 30 seconds earlier, Weiner specifically stated that the players had no access to the information and, therefore, couldn’t defend themselves.

    In other words, Ortiz was lying right off the bat about his story.

    • Januz

      Everything about that press conference bothered me, Even A-Rod did not use the Players Association as a shield. When his contract is up after next year, Ortiz will simply fade away (Like McGwire and Sosa) and we will rarely (If ever) hear from him again.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Hmmm…bets on this being Arod’s last contract?

    • Dayman, fighter of the Nightman

      Karl Ravech stated on air that it was a collectively bargained agreement that the 104 players who tested positive would be told of the results.

  • Mac

    >The players who dance around the issue curry no favor with anyone while the players who fess up to something of the truth earn a modicum of respect.<

    I wish that were true Ben, but Richard Neer on WFAN a few minutes ago was offering the possibility that Ortiz has been clean since the 03 test and that its possible that his HR surge in Boston could be due to the different dimensions of the park.

    What about the guys who were taking designer steroids that avoided detection? Or switching to HGH or something that isn't widely known or detectable?

    Funny how Neer had no explanation for Ortiz of the last year and 1/2.

    What bothers me most is the longer the list is out there, if new players are named they have time to concoct more "credible" stories – just like Ortiz has done with an impressive assist by the MLBPA.

    For a professional athelete to not know what he is puting into his body is unbelievable – yet there will always be some in the media (who should be ashamed for their role in all this) who are gullible enough to buy into one guy being a scumbag – i.e. A-Rod and one guy just making a mistake – Ortiz.

    Its insane – and there are guys now like Magglio Ordonez that are absolute shells of what they were – can't wait to hear those excuses…

    • JohnnyC

      I’m more impressed that you actually remained awake listening to Sir Sominex than that you found one more piece of evidence that Richard Neer hates the Yankees more than he loves having an iota of knowledge about sports other than what Greg Jeffries was doing in a swimming pool swinging a bat underwater as a kid.

  • Jeremy

    Here is what I don’t understand. Where was the MLBPA when ARod’s name came up?

    ARod signed a $252 million contract, opted out of it, and signed a $300 million contract. He is the highest paid player in baseball by far, he plays for the most popular team in baseball, and he might end up as the no. 1 all time HR hitter.

    I would think that if the MLBPA came out in support for anyone, it would ARod. He put player contract on a different level and he is probably the best-known player in the game, for better or worse.

    While Ortiz is also a transcendent figure, I’d think the MLBPA has a much bigger stake in ARod retaining a clean image than Ortiz.

  • bobmac

    Ortiz had an admitted steroid user on his payroll during this time.His name is Felix Leopoldo Marquez Galice and not one “reporter” asked Papi about him.I think if such a situation was in place for Arod these fair and balanced “journalists would have tripped over each other to be the first questioner.

    • gargoyle

      Thank you!!! I have been trying to point this out to members of teh media and thet seem to be unaware of what I’m talking about. It’s as if last weeks Globe article has drfited down the memory hole. Ortiz’s personal go-fer is a steroid user. Would someone please at laest ASK him about it?