Funniest thing about that report of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez testing positive for steroids in 2003: Big Papi has a lot of people heavily invested in the notion of him as a clean player.
Not the least of those is Ortiz himself; as we mentioned before, he’s not as eager to call for suspensions now as he was back in February. But his sponsors, they’ve got to be decrying all of this nonsense, right?
As it turns out, not really; as Darren Rovell reports, Ortiz has plenty of sponsorships, and none of those companies are talking:
Every Ortiz partner we called today, including Off Beat LLC, which just unveiled a series of Ortiz hot sauces, wouldn’t comment on the report that Ortiz tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.
We’re not sure if they’re waiting for any additional information, because there’s probably nothing coming; this is just a list of positive tests from six years ago; more detailed information probably isn’t forthcoming any time soon. Neither’s a suspension, of course. Perhaps they’re just waiting on comment from Ortiz. That may or may not happen.
But the largest group of people who have plenty invested in Ortiz’s success are more than willing to voice their opinions about the test: Red Sox fans. And wouldn’t you know it, Boston’s at home today. So what happened at Fenway?
With his team down 5-3 and two on in the seventh inning, Ortiz cranked a go-ahead 3-run home run in Boston’s 8-5 win over Oakland. And the fans? They gave him a standing ovation and a curtain call. It’s not a statement about Red Sox fans, it’s a statement about fans: they probably don’t much care about drug tests unless it happens to a player on a rival team. If Ortiz were a Yankee, he’d be jeered out of Fenway. Now he is a hero “in spite of” the test.
There are no “clean” teams. There are no “dirtier” teams. The drug use was clearly widespread among top players. Steroids, then, have made either hypocrites or joyless, sour louts of us all as baseball fans. It’s up to you to choose a side.