David Ortiz let loose in a personal essay posted to The Players’ Tribune on Friday. He took issue with two things:
- People who still refer to him as a cheater for having tested positive for PEDs in 2003.
- Having to be tested for PEDs so many times in the first place.
“In some people’s minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that’s bull****. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I’ve been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it’s really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It’s no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.
“But that doesn’t matter to some people. Some people still look at me like I’m a cheater because my name was on a list of players who got flagged for PEDs in 2003. Let me tell you something about that test. Most guys were taking over-the-counter supplements then. Most guys are still taking over-the-counter supplements. If it’s legal, ballplayers take it. Why? Because if you make it to the World Series, you play 180 games. Really think about that for a second. 180 games. Your kids could be sick, your wife could be yelling at you, your dad could be dying — nobody cares. Nobody cares if you have a bone bruise in your wrist or if you have a pulled groin. You’re an entertainer. The people want to see you hit a 95-mile-an-hour fastball over a damn 37-foot wall.”
Ortiz continues outlining what he claims are innocent practices — mainly buying over-the-counter medications in the United States — and dares anyone who still blames him for his 2003 positive test, which didn’t come out until 2009 when his name along with several others was leaked to ESPN, to check out their own medicine cabinets.
“If you think I’m full of it, go to your kitchen cabinet right now and read the back of a supplement bottle and honestly tell me you know what all of that stuff is,” he writes. “I’m not driving across the border to Mexico buying some shady pills from a drug dealer. I’m in a strip mall across from the Dunkin’ Donuts, bro.”
The Red Sox slugger also defended what he terms his “flair.” He writes:
” ‘Papi, how come you walk around the bases so slow when you hit a home run? How come you flip your bat like that? Don’t you think that’s disrespectful to celebrate?’
“Yeah, I’m gonna have fun. It’s who I am. I just hit a baseball 500 damn feet. I grew up in the gutter and now I’m out here in front of the world living my dream and you all want me to feel sad? I can’t do it. I’m here to bring joy to this game.”
FUN! JOY! FEEL IT, DANGIT!
But Papi’s got a point in his treatise, which is basically a plea to fans to take a good hard look at the context in which he was flagged with a positive result.
“Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me — love me, hate me. But I’m no bull*******. I never knowingly took any steroids. If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.”
By the way, “hell yes,” he thinks he belongs in the Hall of Fame.