It’s just one day before the trading deadline, and your team, the Cincinnati Reds, are trying to trade you. So if you’re pitcher Bronson Arroyo, you do the logical thing: Tell a major newspaper that you were using both androstenedione and amphetamines in 2003. That should grease the wheels.
With the news that his then-Red Sox teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are among the 104 players on MLB’s confidential doping list, Arroyo told the BOSTON HERALD that he wouldn’t be shocked to see his name on the list as well. OK then.
You remember Arroyo: The singing star, hair fashion expert and bikini enthusiast who is probably best known for The Slap — when Alex Rodriguez slapped the ball out of his glove during Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Now Reds fans are adding “Grade-A dumbass” to his legacy after his surprising admission on the eve of the trading deadline.
Of course, neither androstenedione, which was not banned until the 2004 season, or amphetamines, banned in 2006, were illegal in baseball when Arroyo said he took them. He said he stopped because he heard that they could be laced with actual steroids. That’s what may have happened to Ortiz and Ramirez, he said.
“Before 2004, none of us paid any attention to anything we took,” said the Reds starter. “Now they don’t want us to take anything unless it’s approved. But back then, who knows what was in stuff? The FDA wasn’t regulating stuff, not unless it was killing people or people were dying from it.”
“Everyone has their own lives, nobody knows what anybody does at night,” said Arroyo. “Nobody knew Ken Caminiti was smoking crack. At the end of the day, we all have our own lives. It’s not a frat house in the big leagues where you go back to the dorm at night and everybody knows what everyone’s doing.”
“I feel like the game’s getting cleared up,” he said. “Personally, I don’t care what people think about what I did. I do what I do.”
Meanwhile, another of Ortiz’s ‘04 Red Sox teammates, current Oakland Athletic Nomar Garciaparra, also defended Big Papi.
“What’s the truth in something like that (NEW YORK TIMES allegation)?” he said. “It’s unfair to judge him until we know the circumstances. Before we cast somebody in a certain way, we need to have the facts.
“The testing was supposed to be anonymous. It was supposed to be just a number (not a name). Literally there were guys who weren’t going to take it and just said, ‘Put me on the list,’ because they wanted testing and we needed to get a certain number of positive tests (more than 5 percent) to do it.
“You’re going to ruin a guy’s reputation and you don’t know what’s real and what wasn’t? The whole thing was screwed up from the beginning. They told us, ‘You have our word. It’s anonymous. It’s all good.’ And then it wasn’t.
Garciaparra’s name has popped up with the frequency of a Whack-A-Mole whenever the steroid list is mentioned, so take that into account.
Poor Red Sox fans: Not only are they confronted with the fact that their first modern title may be tainted, but everyone who pipes up and defends Ramirez and Ortiz seem to be Boston expatriates who have fallen out of favor with the populace.