Clouds over Fenway
Sitting in my seat here in the Fenway Park press box, there are big clouds engulfing the entire playing field and that is fitting on a day like this.
A New York Times report came out roughly one hour before game-time that David Ortiz was on the list of 104 players who tested positive in survey testing for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2003. Manny Ramirez was also on that list, but he of course was suspended for use of a banned substance earlier this season.
In Boston, the story is Ortiz, who has been one of the most beloved players in franchise history, something that was never more evident then when he was in his two-month slump earlier this season. Remember, this is a man who was endeared enough to get curtain calls for the first four home runs he hit this season.
But where will it go from here? What will Ortiz say after the game?
In his first at-bat today, he cracked a double on the very first pitch he saw. The crowd applause was pretty indifferent when he stepped up for his first at-bat. It was almost like they didn’t know whether to cheer or boo, so it was just kind of like, what I would call, a polite applause.
On his first day of Spring Training this year, David was very outspoken about the whole issue of steroids in baseball. He was disappointed that his friend Alex Rodriguez’s name came out from what was supposed to be an anonymous test in ’03, when there was not yet penalties for positive tests of PEDs.
Ortiz urged people to get away from the past and move forward, and suggested that anyone who tests positive in MLB’s testing program should be suspended for an entire season.
“I would suggest that everybody get tested, and not randomly,” Ortiz said on Feb. 16. “You go team by team and you test everybody, three, four times a year, and that’s about it. You do what you’ve got to do … ban them for the whole year [if they test positive]. You’re going to get respect from the players when they know they’re going to get tested. Let’s test the whole team, three or four times a year. I know they can do that. Believe me, if someone was using steroids, it would show up. Because the way they test you, it’s not a joke.”
How about past users, before the testing program was in effect?
“There’s been a lot of players who have been in federal court and being judged like they just killed somebody or they robbed somebody,” Ortiz also said on Feb. 16. “I don’t think all that is supposed to be happening. If you admitted that you’ve used stuff [in the past], boom, don’t use it anymore. It’s not good for you. You know it’s not good for the game. Let’s move on, you know what I mean? All the drama of bringing guys to court and acting like they are serious criminals, it doesn’t look good for the game. What is happening right now is about something that happened in the past. It’s not something that is happening right now. Everything was banned in, what, 2004?”
Anyway, more later.