At the beginning of the 2009 season, the Boston Red Sox began their series of three games at Yankees Stadium against their eternal rivals. Before this series press conference, David Ortiz took the opportunity to clarify rumors circulating about his alleged use of “steroids” years ago. In the press room and in front of several media representatives from New York, Boston and elsewhere, El Papi said, “I did not know” how that happened, “everything I used was permitted”. Yes, David stated that he never used steroids “knowingly”. If he had yielded positive in a doping control in 2003, it was because of “vitamin supplements” he had purchased legally at the mall; those that do not require prescription, products that are acquired directly from the shelves.
During the conference many of us witnessed and appreciated his honesty. We believed in his words. This is why we were wondering why at this stage in the game he had to give another explanation of something already explained. Why all this? Is there anything that we don’t know?
The designated sport journalist of the Red Sox recently wrote an article on the portal The Players’ Tribune, which is editor of that publication, where he defends himself from the constant accusations of doping that had bedeviled him for more than one decade.
“To this day, no one has given me an answer. Nobody can tell me why I supposedly tested positive”, Ortiz wrote in his article titled “The Dirt”, published at the end of March of the 2015.
Indeed, one cannot explain why such things can ever be cleared up once and for all. In an effort to clear up those allegations, the Papi approached Major League Baseball representatives for an answer but they only told him that “legally they cannot tell him anything because tests cannot be disclosed”.
But that is precisely the point, since the beginning when many players started to hit unbelievable home runs over 450 feet, the world began to wonder: How do they do it, where they get that power?
Yes, that was question of the day, where and how players can suddenly hit all this barrage of home runs from one day to the other? The world of media was seeking an answer to the clear up this enigma. Some said that it was the ball. Formerly it was made in Haiti, now it was being assembled in Costa Rica. Others gave credit to the bats. The bats made out of “Maple” had more consistency. By the way, this was what popularized Barry Bonds. Others said that it was the player’s physical preparation: having better equipped gyms, which helped the players gain strength and conditioning during the preseason that allowed them to showcase such a formidable force. Everyone in MLB was trying to find a reasonable explanation. But, no one ever spoke of medical science, and it was there where we could find the right answer. Furthermore, “Pandora’s box” was opened when the Cuban player Jose Canseco spoke about his apparent use of prohibited substances. He, who had taken pills and steroid shoots knew about this substances and was an expert on the matter. “It takes one to know one another”. (It is required to be a pioneer to know other pioneers).
Consequently, after being faced with such evidence of a former player, the Baseball Players Union had no choice but to implement and administer “anti-doping” test. The first test that was done was in 2003, and under the conditions “that it would not reveal the result”. They established a parameter, anyone who came out above the established level would be notified. It turned out that 104 players came out positive, including David Ortiz.
Once given the result, players had to follow the established standard and abide by a list of products that could be purchased and those who could not, Major League implemented its “anti-doping rules”. It was assumed that one of those products that the Papi bought, before implementing the rules, had ingredients that were then banned.
Subsequently, after the 2003 testing, MLB created a list of products that should be used equally, and established penalties for players who tested positive: 50 games the first time, 100 games the second and a suspension of a lifetime if they did it a third time. We should mention that after 2014 this rule was modified, those who tested positive for the first time, now they had 80 suspended games, 162 the second and a suspension of a lifetime if there was another one.
In regards to the Papi, the allegations made during 2003 did not have any foundation. It was only an improperly released list in which he came out positive. The Daddy has never denied to be on that list. “If I tested positive, as they say, then give me an answer of why I came out positive”, although this will no longer have any effect. But MLB told him that they cannot reveal that information because there was an agreement with the players Union.
Once all this ordeal was cleared up, he continued his career with a clean slate. The Papi had been examined more than 80 times and has come out negative. He is a man who has given three World Series to Boston (2004, 2007, 2013), an organization which had not won since 1918. In view of these constant allegations regarding David Ortiz and perhaps others, Major League should send a statement to the Baseball Writers Association (BBWAA), on regards to this wrongly accusations in order to refrain their members from asking this kind of absurd questions.
Finally, David said that since that rule was implemented, he gets an average of 10 anti-doping tests each year.
On the other hand, David added that he deserves to be exalted to the Hall of Fame. Something that we are fully in agreement. Of course, he deserves that distinction, he has demonstrated great leadership in this era where control has been more rigid and his performance has not diminished. Instead, his performance has been better every year, he has established records for most home runs and RBIs.