Steroid Lies Change David Ortiz’s Image from Big Papi to Fenway Faker
Mamma Mia! Turns out that Red Sox Nation’s lovable David (Big Papi) Ortiz isn’t such a straight shooter after all. And even now, he’s still playing fast and loose with the truth when he says he was “blindsided” by the news that he failed the 2003 steroids test.
Alex Rodriguez certainly earned his nickname of A-Fraud with his lies to Katie Couric, but while A-Rod had no way of knowing, in December 2007, that the infamous list of 104 would ever be made public, Ortiz has no such excuse.
Yet this spring, after A-Rod was exposed as A-Roid, Big Papi told anybody who would listen about how clean he was, even though he and his good friend Rodriguez both used the infamous Angel Presinal as a trainer.
The Sox slugger was positively Palmeiroesque in declaring his innocence after A-Rod was outed, saying he would “disrespect the game, my family, my fans and everybody” if he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Ortiz played the family card again in May, when he was mired in the worst slump of his career and baseball fans were starting to chatter about the real reason for his power outage. The player called ESPN’s Howard Bryant at home to proclaim that he was clean. Ortiz even invoked his son to prove his case. Bryant writes about what Ortiz told him:
“I know what it is for my son to have Big Papi as a father,” he told me that day. “There are a lot of people who do great things for him because he’s my son. His life is going to be easier because he’s the son of Big Papi. And that is the biggest reason why I have never used steroids. Because then he would have to go to school and have to listen to all the kids say that his dad is dirty, a cheater, and everything for him would be taken away from him and he would be ruined. I make sure I don’t do those things, for him.”
It takes a special amount of hubris to drag an innocent child into the steroids mess to make yourself look clean. As TV character Maude might have said, “God’ll get you for that, David.”
Ortiz’s postgame statement – or is that misstatement? – yesterday about his steroid test failure was nearly as obnoxious. Let’s take a look:
“Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance-enhancing substances. This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me. I said I had no comment because I wanted to get to the bottom of this. “
Um, no. As the Times quotes him, he actually said, “I’m not talking about that anymore” and “I have no comment.” What is the “anymore” about, given that he is claiming that this news “blindsided” him?
The Mitchell Report revealed that MLB Players Association represenative Gene Orza reportedly told players who failed that first test about the results in the fall of 2004, just before they were about to take another steroids test. Given that information, for Ortiz to declare that he had no idea until yesterday that he failed this test is just laughable.
That wasn’t the only ridiculous thing he said in this statement. He also claimed, ”based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.”
Other things that surprise Ortiz:
* Jon and Kate didn’t have a happy marriage after all
* Michael Jackson was kind of a weird dude
* Soylent Green is people
Big Papi also declared that he would “find out what I tested positive for.”
Oh goody – Sherlock Ortiz is on the case! Is Manny Ramirez going to be his dear Watson?
Detective Ortiz closed his statement with this:
“Based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me — I will not hide and I will not make excuses. “
I’m picturing Ortiz starring in a new CBS show – “CSI: Boston” – to find out the real story. Maybe he’ll spend late nights in the lab poring over his statistics and blood work, and he’ll finally understand how a mediocre Minnesota player like him became a superstar with the Sox.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein backs Ortiz’s “somebody put something in my drink” defense, saying Ortiz “needs some time to get some answers and then he’s going to stand up and answer every question.” He also said, “I admire that courage.”
You know, for all the grief A-Rod got for his “I was young and stupid” defense, at least he fessed up to taking PEDs and showed some remorse. Let’s see if Ortiz will finally tell the truth and show some courage really worth admiring.
Photo by Keith Allison
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