You may have forgotten, amid David Ortiz’s 2016 farewell tour/public lovefest, that the beloved Red Sox designated hitter was once implicated as a user of performance enhancing drugs.
In 2009, the New York Times reported that Ortiz was among the 104 Major-League players who came up positive for PEDs during anonymous testing in 2003. Ortiz denied the report at the time and has insisted in the years since that he never used PEDs.
Well on Friday, Ortiz offered a theory for why his name was attached to PED rumors: It was those damn Yankees.
Here’s what Ortiz had to say in a radio interview with WEEI in Boston.
“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that? The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York and they had zero explanation about it.”
It’s true that by the summer 2009, Yankees stars like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez had been accused of using PEDs. It’s also true that most of the other players who reportedly tested positive in 2003, (Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Jason Grimsley, A-Rod) are widely accepted to have used PEDs. So maybe Ortiz is stretching things a little by alleging a New York-orchestrated conspiracy to sully his name.
At this point, everyone in baseball would probably be best served by putting the early-2000s steroid hysteria behind it. No one benefits from endless hand-wringing about who did and didn’t test positive, especially when the testing was supposed to be anonymous to begin with. It especially won’t benefit David Ortiz, who is a few years away from Hall of Fame eligibility, to keep reminding us of his allegedly steroid-addled past.