Ortiz: Ban Steroid Users for a Year

David Ortiz has always spoken with a refreshing candor* about the steroid issue — including about his own use or non-use, as you might remember:

"I tell you, I don't know too much about steroids, but I started listening about steroids when they started to bring that [expletive] up, and I started realizing and getting to know a little bit about it. You've got to be careful. I used to buy a protein shake in my country. I don't do that anymore because they don't have the approval for that here, so I know that, so I'm off buying things at the GNC back in the Dominican Republic.

"But it can happen any time, it can happen. I don't know. I don't know if I drank something in my youth, not knowing it."

Today, Ortiz spoke for the first time after good friend Alex Rodriguez admitted he'd used steroids from 2001-03, saying MLB should replace random testing with leaguewide testing three or four times per year, and that positive tests should result in a season-long ban.

* For whatever candor is worth when the topic is steroids. A-Rod seemed pretty candid when he spoke to Katie Couric, as well.


The rest of his comments:

"I think that the A-Rod situation, it was a little bit tough for the game," Ortiz said. "Talking about the best player all the way around. At the same time, people have to give the guy credit because he came out with what he said at the point of his career where he had done it all. On top of that, that was what? Six years ago? The guy has put up numbers his whole career. It was one thing that he said that caught my attention was that he was young and at the time. . . . sometimes you make the wrong decision like he did. He's been playing clean and he's still producing. He's still been the best player in the game. If I'm a fan and I had to judge the guy, I would put that in the past and move forward. The guy, he works hard, man. He's still doing his thing. He's still got nine more years on his contract where he's definitely gonna do some damage still."

"Like I said, this game has been hurt, a lot," said Ortiz. "This is not a players' game, this is not a team game, it's a family game. We have a lot of families that live for this game. We have a lot of families that enjoy these games and people who bring their kids to watch these games. And I don't think this game can take any more. More than 80 or 90 percent of the players [are] playing clean [now]. We're going through a tough situation all the way around, our soldiers fighting in Iraq, and this game is a distraction for people and the American family. I would like to see some changes and let us just play the game. Guys like myself, I will do what ever it takes to make this game get better. But not everybody's on the same page, you know what I mean? The game has changed a lot. Just play the game. The game is tough enough. These things we heard from Alex, that was the last thing you want to hear about the baseball game. The guy came out — and he didn't wait until they took him to the Congress and all that. He was honest."

"There are a lot of players who have been to federal court being judged like they just killed somebody," Ortiz said. "I don't think that is supposed to be happening. If you admitted you were using the stuff, don't use it any more. You know it's not good for you. You know it's not good for the game and lets move on, you know what I mean? All the drama of bringing guys to court and acting like they're serious criminals, it doesn't look good for the game. What is happening right now is something that happened in the past. It's not something that is happening right now."

"I think you clean up the game by the testing. I test you, you test positive, you're going to be out. Period," Ortiz said. "If I test positive using any kind of banned substance I'm going to disrespect the game, my family, my fans and everybody. And I don't want to face the situation so I won't use it. I'm sure everybody is on the same page."

"From what I've seen right now from the testimony that Alex gave, I would say it was very low the percentage that wasn't using it. Like he said, that's what was going around the league at the time. What else do you want? But in 2004 when they came out with the testing, I guarantee the percentage has been going down."

One thing I'm surprised no one asked, especially given Ortiz's previous comments about the GNC products from the Dominican, is whether he's one of the 103 other names.

10 comments… add one

  • Surprised that reporters fail to ask controversial questions? Has anyone asked Goose Gossage or Joe Torre whether they ever used greenies? But they’re all too willing to print their perspectives on the current mess but without any pause to probe actual perspective.
    I’ll be waiting for Gosssage and Torre to explain how it was a different culture back then…you know, one where the managers didn’t write books with million dollar advances and with employed baseball writers collaborating.
    Seriously, what is ethics today when the concept is so fluid that all meaning changes within twenty years?

    Rob February 16, 2009, 3:35 pm
  • Damn, I’m annoyed. This interview shows exactly the problem with modern journalism and the fear of losing access. These turds are asking a current ballplayer how he would design a testing regime (the equivalent of asking a professional wrestler for advice on acting) but can’t swallow just a little bit and ask if he was on the 2003 list.

    Rob February 16, 2009, 3:52 pm
  • “* For whatever candor is worth when the topic is steroids. A-Rod seemed pretty candid when he spoke to Katie Couric, as well.”
    This is exactly right. we cant trust anyone at this point…

    sam-YF February 16, 2009, 3:55 pm
  • we cant trust anyone at this point
    And yet, these stenographers don’t seem too concerned by that sad fact.
    But wait until you get these sharks in the water where there’s blood. Then they’ll post column after column dissecting that one press conference or interview.

    Rob February 16, 2009, 4:05 pm
  • I know there’s a little bit of awkwardness asking tough questions of people you spend so much time with, but it seems pretty straight forward to me. I was actually thinking about this in the shower this morning and the first question I’d ask is whether he’s on the list. It is unfortunate that no one either thought to or wanted to ask it.

    Paul SF February 16, 2009, 4:11 pm
  • I really don’t understand why absolutely no one realizes that performance enhancers were probably even worse back in the ‘golden age’ of baseball.
    Or that the “103” that tested positive didn’t include Bonds. Bonds’ sample later tested positive. So the actual number is likely much higher than 103.

    AndrewYF February 16, 2009, 5:08 pm
  • A sportswriter I once worked with had covered a very, very bad Univerity of Iowa football team back in the early 1970s. The coach had been there for many years and had had little success. The story goes that one season, at each Monday morning press conference in which the coach would do final post mortem on the past weekend’s game (usually a loss) and then talk about the upcoming game, the sports writer in question would open the Q&A by asking, “Coach, when are you going to quit?”
    Ah, the good old days.
    Rob, I gotta tell you. I was very pissed at your suggestion that Papi should be subjected to such a question.
    But you’re absolutely right.
    In fact, every reporter should ask every player if he’s ever taken PED’s, if for no other reason than to get him on the record.
    It’s time these assholes stop being scribes. They’re reporters. They need to fucking report.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 16, 2009, 6:44 pm
  • I cringe at the thought of Ortiz being asked those questions, but they should be asked. I need baseball really badly right now; it’s been a long winter and I’m sick of this being the only baseball news.

    Atheose - SF February 17, 2009, 9:30 am
  • The ESPN ombudsman goes ad naseum on the A-Rod “get”. But the most telling bit is from Gammons:
    “I realized right away that this was the first surefire, by his performance, Hall-of-Famer to admit this,” Gammons said, “and therefore I thought keeping him talking, and getting as much as I could out there, was very important. I really felt my first duty was to get his words onto my employer’s network.”
    In this age of modern journalism, that’s saying something when a guy like Gammons, with overflowing love for the sport, says his first loyalty is to a network. Not history. Not the game. Not his profession. His employer.

    Rob February 17, 2009, 10:42 am
  • he coach had been there for many years and had had little success. The story goes that one season, at each Monday morning press conference in which the coach would do buy steroidsfinal post mortem on the past weekend’s game (usually a loss) and then talk about the upcoming game, the sports writer in question would open the Q&A by asking: HEy?

    Megabolix January 27, 2010, 1:49 pm

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