Manny, Ortiz on the 2003 steroid positive list

So sayeth the Times:

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who propelled the Boston Red Sox to end an 86-year World Series championship drought and to capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.

I know it won’t do any good because people will go crazy regardless, but at least allow me to try and get out in front of this:

  • You’re not surprised, so please don’t pretend you are.
  • You’ve not been betrayed, so please don’t claim to be.
  • The Red Sox’ championship in 2004 is no more tainted than any other championship won by any other team in at least the past 20 years, so please don’t even go there.
  • Now, with that out of the way, you may resume your regularly-scheduled outrage.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, let us remember:

    The information about Ramirez and Ortiz emerged through interviews with multiple lawyers and others connected to the pending litigation. The lawyers spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order.

    Whoever is revealing this information is committing a far greater offense (contempt of court) than that which Manny and Ortiz committed.

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    Comments

    1. Steve Watson said...

      Between this, the whole huff over Dice-K, and the Sox failure – to this point – to acquire Hallday, this is a good time to stay away from sports radio in Boston. Or a good time to tune in, if angry, ridiculous rants are your thing.

      WEEI, I’ll be checking in some other week.

    2. BillyBeaneismyHero said...

      As a Red Sox fan, I would just like to say that I don’t care whether or not they did steroids.  At this point, it’s all hearsay.

    3. crister said...

      i guess manny’s “my bad” and “i made a one time mistake: earlier this year ended up being as sincere as it sounded.

    4. MatthewA said...

      Fun fact: the NY Times owned part of the Red Sox in 2003.

      Is it possible that the lawyers cited as sources on this one were their own?

    5. Jamie said...

      The part that says “according to lawyers with knowledge of the results” actually kind of shocked me. That has to be a fairly small pool, and I don’t know why they’d be risking their careers (and possible jail time) for the cause of juicy baseball gossip.

    6. J.W. said...

      As a Yankee fan, I would just like to say that I don’t care whether or not they did steroids. Hearsay or no, this does not taint anything, doesn’t cast a shadow on anything, it’s not important, it makes no difference. In my opinion, of course. Now what the lawyers did, well that’s really quite bad.

    7. Tom said...

      Steve: Don’t worry, you won’t hear about this on WEEI. The only thing I’ve heard Dennis and Callahan mention in the last two weeks is that Harvard professor story. Every single morning, for at least an hour. No joke.

      Personally, I don’t really care about the whole steroids “scandal”. I still think Bonds should be a unanimous Hall of Famer, and I smack any of my friends that present the “asterisk” qualifier. The stuff Bill James said recently about the whole debaucle carried a lot of weight with me.

    8. Brian said...

      Of course the Sox titles aren’t tainted…BUT the Sox fans who’ve long maintained that other teams’ titles ARE tainted can all now shut the hell up.

    9. mike in brooklyn said...

      Jamie:  That’s exactly what I was thinking.  These guys sure seem to be taking a huge risk.  And it’s not like this is the first time a name’s been leaked.  I would imagine each leak ups that risk.  In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if the largest punishments around the whole steroids issue turns out to be people who didn’t take, sell, or develop them.

    10. Adam said...

      “103 bottles of HGH on the wall, 103 bottles of HGH, if one of those bottles should happen to fall…102 bottles of HGH on the wall…”

      My kids didn’t stop when I screamed at them to shut up, either.

    11. YankeesfanLen said...

      Must have been the slow-release steroids from Bob’s Discount Drugs cause it didn’t kick in til game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

    12. Nick Whitman said...

      They seriously just need to release the entire list.  That way we can get over the firestorm of sanctimony all at once instead of having to be subjected to it once every couple of months.  This situation of names being leaked periodically is getting ridiculous.  I am sick as hell of steroids dominating the news cycle every time I turn around. 

      It’s the goddamn trade deadline, people.  That’s an awesome time of year.  Some of us still care about the actual game of baseball and would like to hear discussion and commentary about the very exciting season that’s playing out right now, before our eyes.  As it stands now, I know I won’t be able to turn on ESPN or listen to the radio for like three weeks without being filled with rage.

    13. RP said...

      I can’t believe someone leaked this… oops.  Actually, I can’t believe it took this long.

      With that being said, I agree with Craig’s analysis, particularly with regard to the lawyers involved.  As a fellow lawyer, I’m always dismayed when people decide to put their ethical obligations aside, but not shocked.  But I am surprised when someone commits an act that could lead to more than just professional censure.

      I know NY has a shield law for journalists (for the record, I’m not a fan of press shield laws—if you want to stand on the First Amendment and protect a source, that’s wonderful, but the price may well include cooling your heels in a jail cell).  But I wonder about the scope of said law, and whether it would apply in this case.

    14. Michael said...

      The way these names have been leaked, it’s pretty clear that whoever is leaking is doing so with malice.

      I’d love to see them caught and facing federal charges.

    15. nomorespinsports said...

      Not surprised, not at all. First of all, I’m glad the names are coming out. I’m not glad with the manner in which they have been released. Those who are leaking these names are committing federal crimes. I’m quite surprised that no one has been caught as of yet. I’m pretty sure someone is going to get caught eventually.

      This also shows how these players lie, lie, and lie again. It shows how much of an unlikable liar Manny Ramirez is. I can’t wait to see the spin.

    16. Bill @ the daily something said...

      “I’m glad the names are coming out. I’m not glad with the manner in which they have been released. Those who are leaking these names are committing federal crimes. I’m quite surprised that no one has been caught as of yet. I’m pretty sure someone is going to get caught eventually.”

      The problem is, there’s no manner in which they CAN (or should) be released. It was an anonymous test. It’s under seal. The results should have been destroyed. Not sure why they ever put names to the results anyway, since that wasn’t the purported purpose of the thing.

      I have to think that these people could be caught if the powers that be wanted to catch them. And that the one true outrage about this is that there’s no outrage about the fact that the powers that be don’t seem to want to.

    17. Drew said...

      I was watching ESPN at the bar at lunch, and one of the people on the show (I think it was Steve Phillips, couldn’t be sure because I was reading the closed captions) said that David Ortiz only had 4 home runs through June of ‘03, and then hit 27 more the rest of the year.  His statement was “Ortiz found a chemist in July..” or something to that effect.  Is there any reason to believe that the impact of injecting steroids would be instant and miraculous? (Never mind the fact that Ortiz was a part-time player early in ‘03) I mean, does anyone really believe that Luis Castillo could go in the locker room today, shoot some hormones in his ass, and then hit 15 homers in August?  Do they ever have anyone who knows what they’re talking about discuss this issue?

    18. Andy H said...

      “Whoever is revealing this information is committing a far greater offense (contempt of court) than that which Manny and Ortiz committed.”

      A FAR greater offense? I don’t know about that.  Taking illegal drugs is bad.  Leaking confidential information is also bad.  I don’t condone what the lawyers did, but leaking these reports doesn’t make what the players did less wrong.

    19. Rob² said...

      Gotta love how the reporter mentions the 31 home runs that Ortiz as a new personal high, but fails to mention that he also reached a personal high in plate appearances as well.  In 2001 and 2002 Ortiz hit home runs at nearly the same pace as in 2003.  Normalized to 500 PA, the numbers are thus:

      Year HR/500 PA
      2001   26
      2002   22
      2003   31

      Oh yeah, and 2003 was his age-27 year.

      Oh, but what about post-2003 you ask?

      Year HR/500 PA
      2004   31
      2005   33
      2006   39
      2007   26

      Never let facts get in the way of a good story.

    20. MatthewA said...

      @Andy H: Careful there, buddy. We don’t know what Manny and Ortiz tested positive for, just that they tested positive. It could very well be a drug that’s legally sold in your local GNC or was available in a drug store in Ortiz’s native Dominican Republic. The drug’s only requirement is that it has to be on baseball’s banned substances list.

      All we know is that Manny and Ortiz broke a baseball rule. The lawyers broke the law. There’s a HUGE difference.

    21. Craig Calcaterra said...

      “A FAR greater offense? I don’t know about that.  Taking illegal drugs is bad.  Leaking confidential information is also bad.  I don’t condone what the lawyers did, but leaking these reports doesn’t make what the players did less wrong.”

      I’m more saying that people are underselling what the lawyers here are doing as opposed to overstating how bad the players’ conduct is.  Lawyers are officers of the court system and have a duty to the court far greater than that of non-laywers.  We take oaths and all of that jazz.  The entire system is undermined when ANYONE violates court orders, but it is way, way worse when a lawyer does it.

      Think of it this way: the ultimate power of the judicial system is that it can, if necessary, call out actual force in the form of the government’s police/criminal apparatus to effect it’s orders if need be.  It rarely, rarely has to do that because people respect court orders way more often than they don’t.  One of the reasons they do that is that people subject to court orders usually have lawyers explaining to them how important respecting those orders is.

      In other words, the system is, practically speaking, based far more on sheer confidence and trust than it is on force.  If that were to change, and if, instead, courts routinely had to send police to enforce court orders, our society would look very very different than it does now.

      Drugs are bad, mmm-kay, but sh*tting on the judicial system is truly, truly dangerous.

    22. MooseinOhio said...

      Dan Shaughnessy is happily writing his piece for tomorrow as not all appears great with Red Sox Nation.

      Mike Lupica will be salivating by the time Sunday’s SportReporters air.

      Bill Plashke will fall of his chair making his ‘how dare they’ comments on PTI this afternoon.

      Don Fehr is hating himself, and pouring another drink, for not having the evidence destroyed.

      101 ballplayers yet to be named are wondering when their names will be getting leaked and most are hoping and praying that it will be one of the last when most folks are fully numb to the disclosures.

    23. Jack Marshall said...

      The Ortiz thing depresses me, because he is such an appealing athlete in so many ways. But what really annoys me is all the bloggers and commenters who presumed that Papi was on steroids because he was Dominican, because he was in a long slump, because he had impressive years once he got a chance to play, because of where he trained, and other factors that in no way justified their assertions. Unfair, presumptuous accusations do not become fair, smart or valid just because they turn out to be true.

    24. Matt M said...

      Why haven’t heads rolled at the Player’s Union? The stupidity that allowed these “anonymous” tests to not be destroyed is beyond belief. First A-Rod, now Ortiz. It’s beyond stupid that this stuff keeps dripping out. Does Barry Bonds have a court date coming up?

    25. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Matt—Don Fehr has stepped down. Do we know for sure it was voluntary? His #2, Gene Orza, was passed over for the top job. Do we know he didn’t want it?  The new guy—Weiner, I think his name is—wasn’t involved in the test-destruction business from what I understand.  Not all purges are noisey ones.

    26. ma said...

      To those of you that think these players are just getting what they deserve; just wait until you’re in court and the custody of your child or some civil suit or who know what it is at stake and some asshats are working outside of the law against you.  Then you’ll know why this is a big deal.  This affects all of us, and somebody needs to be held accountable.

    27. Andy H said...

      MatthewA, point taken about not knowing exactly what they tested for.  I have no problem with players testing positive for an OTC drug which wasn’t banned at the time.  McGwire taking andro, for instance.

      Craig, I agree that “sh*tting on the judicial system” is bad, but this is more like “farting in the general direction” of the legal system. Bad, but not in my opinion far worse than illegal drugs (assuming they were illegal).

    28. Brian said...

      Jack – you should really depressed because all of the warning signs were there and you CHOSE to ignore them or spin them a certain way simply because you were a fan of the team he plays for.  That says more about you than it does about the fans who were suspicious. 

      It wasn’t just ONE red flag.  It was several.  And in this era…smoke generally leads to fire when we’re talking about Latin power hitters who show production that is inconsistent with prior results, rapid delince, physical breakdowns, and who work out with a certain trainer (Persinal).

    29. Bill @ the daily something said...

      “And in this era…smoke generally leads to fire when we’re talking about power hitters who show production that is inconsistent with prior results, rapid delince, physical breakdowns, and who work out with a certain trainer (Persinal).”

      Made a small but important edit.

      I actually still disagree with that whole line of speculative thinking, but at least this way it’s inoffensive and defensible.

    30. Matt M said...

      Craig,

      Good points. But if I’m one of the 104, I want a pound of flesh, not a gold watch ceremony. But maybe that’s just me. I suppose from a PR standpoint, it would look bad to fire guys for failing to adequately shield PED users. Even though, in this instance, that was their job.

    31. Bob Tufts said...

      “A government-retained scientist, Dr. Don Catlin, also said he found evidence that Bonds used the designer steroid THG upon retesting a urine sample Bonds supplied as part of baseball’s anonymous survey drug testing in 2003, when the designer drug was not yet detectable. Federal investigators seized them in 2004 from the private laboratory used by Major League Baseball before they could be destroyed, which the players were promised.”

      So Schmidt’s inclusion of Bonds’ name in the article involves the use of a substance which was not banned or illegal at the time?

    32. Greg Simons said...

      When is the NY Times going to release the name of some obscure backup outfielder, fifth starter or last man in the bullpen?  Oh, wait, releasing those names won’t increase the Times’ revenue, so why bother?

      I’d love to see the leakers found out and punished severely.

    33. Ron said...

      Why does anyone even care about this? It’s done, it’s over, it’s in the past and none of it matters anymore.

      This is equivalent of the 2000 presidential elections, game 6 of the ‘85 World Series and wishing Fonzie had never jumped the shark.

      It’s done, people. Let it go. You can’t go back and change anything and the world has moved on. Let this thing preserve it’s anonymity it so richly deserves.

    34. J.W. said...

      I’d rather err on the side of assuming someone is innocent than err on the side of assuming someone is guilty because of where they’re from and who they associate with. I admit all the warning signs were there with Ortiz, but until there was some evidence that those warning signs actually pointed somewhere real, I think it would have been inappropriate to declare him guilty. My guess is that Jack Marshall didn’t ignore or spin these signs because he’s a fan, I’d guess he didn’t rush to judgment because he didn’t want to unfairly and prematurely condemn someone. The way I see it, if you put yourself in Ortiz’s shoes, you’ll see why it’s a bad idea to condemn someone on the “if there’s smoke there’s fire” principle. Wouldn’t we all want the benefit of the doubt, even if there were some signs suggesting we might not be innocent? Wouldn’t we be outraged if our nationality and our friends were used as evidence against us?

    35. MooseinOhio said...

      Matt M – I suspect you right in not the MLBPA not going public with the true reason Fehr stepped down and Orza was not promoted despite being the heir apparent.  However I also suspect that it was as much to do with this really being Fehr first negative as union chief as under his watch the players did amazingly well for themselves and typically had ‘hand’ (as George C would say) on MLB – regardless of who was the commish. 

      He lost his hand when Congress step in and screwed up by not assuring the evidence was quickly destroyed.  Embarrassing him publically was not what they wanted and I think they let him quietly fall on his own sword by leaving with a sense of dignity.

    36. Jack Marshall said...

      Nope, Brian, I don’t buy that, not at all. In fact, it’s crap. The “warning signs” on Ortiz were like the “warning signs” on Ibanez: just unfair speculation. You’re welcome to your opinion, but Ortiz was hardly a Bonds case—-he moved to a better team, in his prime, eliminated a hole in his swing (which is NOT a benefit or steroids), hsi physique did not appear to change, and he appeared in every respect to be a player of integrity.

    37. digglahhh said...

      @ Brian,

      …or maybe Jack, an ethicist by trade, just adheres to the Aristotelian view of it being a “serious matter to decide that a slave is free, yet it is much more serious to convict a freeman of being a slave.” I heard that guy was kinda smart.

      Or, for the less pretentious, how about simple innocence until proven guilty.

    38. The Common Man said...

      @ Brian

      I can’t believe you’re making me defend Jack, who I usually want to strangle with a blunt object.  Right now, a warning sign should be “is a major league baseball player,” rather than the stereotypes and misinformation you are using to back your claims.  We’ve seen scrubs, stars, everyday guys, bench guys, and minor leagues all implicated in this.  They have been from the US, D.R., Cuba, and other countries.  And, as has been pointed out elsewhere, Ortiz’s homer rate never increased at a precipitous rate; his playing time did.  And for once, Jack, you and I are in total agreement.  Well said.

    39. Jack Marshall said...

      Digglahh—-couldn’t say that any better (or even as well.) I have no problem with concluding, based on reasonable analysis, that someone has done something wrong without the benefit of proof in a court of law…examples: Bonds, McGwire, John Wilkes Booth. “All the signs” were NOT there for Ortiz, and in the absence of more, he, like anyone, deserved the benefit of the doubt. I am not a fan of A-rod, and I detest Manny, but I would have accorded them the same.

    40. MooseinOhio said...

      Can you really strangle someone with a blunt object?  I’d just whack em upside the head with it – seems more efficient. smile

    41. Mike said...

      Rob – I haven’t done the testing, but I would think there is a significant statistical difference between hr/500 of 26, 22 and 31,33,39. 

      Picking PA can also skews the data because his walk percentages in 05, 06 & 07 were 3-4% higher than in 2001-2004.  (So, it would stand to reason, he hit more HR when he swung the bat.)

      Some of this may be due to ballpark factors, but I don’t have the Metrodome/Fenway data in front of me.  While the author’s comment about about hitting a high in HR is myopic, your analysis isn’t exactly bulletproof.

    42. Jack Marshall said...

      Digglahh—-couldn’t say that any better (or even as well.) I have no problem with concluding, based on reasonable analysis, that someone has done something wrong without the benefit of proof in a court of law…examples: Bonds, McGwire, John Wilkes Booth. “All the signs” were NOT there for Ortiz, and in the absence of more, he, like anyone, deserved the benefit of the doubt. I am not a fan of A-rod, and I detest Manny, but I would have accorded them the same.

      I also wondered about strangling with a blunt object…

    43. MooseinOhio said...

      Okay – now I’m kind of freaked out as I did not put that little smilely faced thingy at the end of post.  I did put a colon and a parenthesis to let TCM know I was being playful. 

      Are the computers beginning to think for themselves? 

      Isn’t this a really dangerous sign?

    44. Randy said...

      At least we’re no longer using the “increase in size of one’s head” as an argument for steroids, a la Bonds. Given Ortiz’ already sizeable noggin, he’d look like a bobblehead.

      I am curious that while Ortiz has stated that he may have had illegal substances from GNC earlier this decade and then stopped, he’s also been very public about condemning those who have juiced. If I was guilty of an illegal substance, even if it weren’t steroids, I certainly wouldn’t publicly point the finger at anyone else for their test failures.

    45. Tim Kelly said...

      I am conflicted.

      There are so many who so quickly come out and say that they don’t care, this isn’t surprising, how about we just move on, I’m tired of talking about steroids, etc. etc.  Even my man Craig is here to get out in front of this thing to try and squash the reaction before-the-fact. 

      While I can understand where he’s coming from, it’s my contention that the shaming of the ballplayers who are found to have been steroid users is useful and important if we want a clean game (the key phrase being “if we want a clean game”). 

      I do not want our sport to become like football, where the use of PEDs gets just a four-game suspension and a collective yawn.  I think it’s partially that general apathy that encourages use from football players like Merriman who see that the risk/reward ratio in that sport might tilt towards using. 

      I think that much of the moralizing and outrage that comes from our Olneys, Starks, and Plaschkes is ridiculous and hypocritical.  But I also think that rage against steroid use provides an additional deterrent to the players outside of the 50-game suspension.  Is my position tenable on logical grounds?

    46. Adam said...

      It is interesting to me to see the tenor of discussion here; I feel certain that it’s different now than it was when the infamous Congressional hearings took place.  Our reactions seems much more nuanced these days, and that’s a good thing.  In the context of court officers in violation of their oath; sportswriters who write stories without any regard for the ethics of journalism or even the spirit of fair play; and team owners and union officials who greedily put their short term interests ahead of the long term interests of the game and it becomes more difficult for right thinking people to single out the players who “cheated” for opprobrium.  Frankly, the only people I feel sorry for in this are the guys who didn’t juice and were forced to compete against (and earn less than) those that did.  Oh, and I also feel sorry for anybody who takes a little less joy from watching Mariano throw a cutter or Albert stand in the box or Carl Crawford steal a base.  I’m not prepared to sacrifice the enjoyment I get from this game, no matter what those 103 guys did five years ago.  And if Buster Olney or Mike Lupica thinks I’m stupid because I won’t share in their outrage, so be it.

    47. Jack Marshall said...

      Yes, Tim…both logical AND ethically necessary. “I don’t care” is tantamount to approval. Disapproval and shunning is essential if any kind of ethical standards are going to be maintained.
      Interestingly, the attorneys in TWO high profile cases right now, the big music-downloading trial of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student, and the bribery trail of former Rep. Willam Jefferson, argued “everybody does it” defenses, which if they worked (they won’t) would guarantee a further lowering of standards of conduct.

      I don’t know when it became “moralizing” to hold the opinion that we shouldn’t want pro athletes making millions, becoming celebrities, breaking records and winning championships by surrepticiously breaking drug laws and basic rules of fairness in competition …it seems pretty obvious and straightforward to me.

    48. Jack Marshall said...

      Irony: David Ortiz just hit a three run homer in the 7th to put the Sox ahead of the A’s 6-5. Must be on those ‘roids again…

    49. digglahhh said...

      Thanks for the kind words, Jack. But, I didn’t phrase anything. I’ll pass the compliment on to Stots though – yeah, “Stots,” that’s I call him at happy hour… smile

    50. Detroit Michael said...

      If this angle of the story has been covered, I haven’t read it. 

      Ortiz released a statement saying that he contacted the union and they confirmed that his name was on the 2003 tested positive list.  Would the union do that for any player who called in or just those publicly accused of having their names on the list?  If they confirm it for any player who asks, then every single player could easily find out if his name is on the list.  For example (I’m not accussing him, just using him as an example) when Johnny Damon responds to “are you on the list?” with “I better not be or else there’ll be lawsuits,” is this phony because Damon already knows whether or not (according to the union) his name is on the list?

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