Monday, August 10, 2009

Is Ortiz paying an unfair price?

Wasn’t Saturday just one heckuva day? Beautiful! The sun was bright; the sky did have some passing clouds, but it was mostly blue; and we didn’t get any rain. The temperature was in the 70s and my little piece of the world had a beautiful sea breeze that kept the humidity way down. Don’t get the wrong idea; I don’t live on the ocean, actually several miles from it, but we are on the south side of Route One yet close enough to the Atlantic to get that sea breeze.

Sunday wasn’t bad, either, even though the milky clouds began appearing in the morning. Wet weather could begin arriving here later today and we'll have some extremely unnice with either some showers or humidity keeping us wet, possibly into Wednesday.

I think my Fearless Friend would tell me that if I don’t feel comfortable writing about something, don’t write about it. Well, I feel uncomfortable about writing about the Big Papi situation, so I’m going to write something about it. Let me preface this with I’m writing only from personal feelings and not from any position of expertise. And I think I’m just reiterating something I may have written earlier. That said:

The news media and I, as well as many of us, have been too quick to judge the David Ortiz (Big Papi) situation concerning the use of drugs. I won’t say he’s innocent here; I simply don’t know and his “news” conference held Saturday didn’t say much of anything. Both he and an accompanying lawyer from the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) were generally silenced by court order. Of course that same court order didn’t stop “anonymous lawyers connected with the cases” from naming names.

Before, and please note that “before” part, the use of steroids and other substances were outlawed by Major League Baseball (MLB), many players used supplements, and yes, some used steroids to enhance their performances. Performance enhancing drugs, they were called. Before 2003, with the urging and threats of Congress to do something about those drugs, MLB attempted to negotiate with the MLBPA banning their use and formulating a testing program. That program was put into effect in 2003 to see how extensive the problem was and if such a testing program were needed.

The players tested were supposed to have been kept anonymous, but we all know how that works. Personal vendettas always have a way of breaking anonymity. Apparently, most of the tested players tested positive which then led to the formation of a new policy.

Big Papi was among those tested, as were other Red Sox or former Red Sox players such as Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens (then long gone from Boston). Other notable players, including but not limited to Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds, and many others also apparently tested positive.

Let’s get something very clear here. The use of those performance enhancing drugs in 2003 were not illegal; disturbing perhaps, creating an unfair competition perhaps, personally abhorrent perhaps, but not illegal.

Ortiz says he did not buy or knowingly use steroids but he did admit to using supplements. And a few days ago, The New York Times and those “anonymous lawyers connected to the case” decided it was time to destroy him. His name, along with Ramirez, was revealed.

Has Ortiz used illegal, yes, now illegal drugs since 2003? I don’t know, and neither does anyone else for sure except the player himself. But the news media and many fans have judged him guilty and his reputation is paying for a very unfair treatment led by the press.

It is true that some of those named are facing possible court trials. There is a difference. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are in deep legal trouble not for using the drugs but rather for lying about it to Congress. It is the lie that has brought troubles to them.

Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez freely admitted using them, in fact called them steroids, and now are continuing their careers with the forgiveness of their fans. On the other hand, Ramirez tested positive earlier this season and paid a 50-game penalty. He didn’t complain about it and accepted his fate. He is now back in the loving graces of Los Angeles.

Ortiz has freely admitted using supplements saying he didn’t know they were steroids and is being raked over the coals. It simply isn’t fair.

And speaking of the Red Sox… Well, not much good news there so instead let's mention that the NFL Pre-Season Football began last night with the Hall of Fame game. It might be a welcome change.


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