By now, everyone has heard that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez tested positive for steroids in 2003. It’s hard to describe the level of disappointment from a Red Sox’s perspective. Ortiz wasn’t just a superstar player. He was Big Papi. He was a legend. It’s not that the news is altogether shocking since his numbers were clearly abnormal, but there was always that hope that the huge smile and amazing personality meant that Ortiz’s surge was a result of a change of scenery and not steroids.
Is there a smile more famous than Big Papi’s? Is there a baseball player that is more lovable and more famous? Ortiz was the face of the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation. No matter what you thought of the team, every fan loved Ortiz. Every Yankee fan hated Ortiz. But besides the Yankees’ fans, most opposing fans actually liked Big Papi, because he was just so lovable. And now to see all that fall apart is heartbreaking and gut wrenching. Even if it was true, I never wanted to know about it; never wanted to face the day when I’d read that Papi tested positive. He’s superman. He’s invincible. How can Big Papi have used steroids? How can he have cheated?
Yet, he did. His comments were very vague and confusing and I’m very interested to see what he says next. The remarks almost lead me to believe that he is planning an excuse. His shock and search for answers seemed like he was giving himself time to make up an excuse. Maybe he has some amazing explanation. I really hope he does, but it’s highly unlikely. Will he come clean and admit using steroids? His initial comments didn’t make it seem that way, but what else can he say? He has to answer questions and give real, legitimate answers that actually make sense. If he doesn’t admit to using steroids, he’s going to give some weak excuse and ruin his reputation even more. Papi has forever lost his legacy of the big man with the big smile and the big personality. He lost the trust of Red Sox Nation. He has lost all credibility. By lying or skirting around the truth though, he will lose the fans, media, and players respect. At this point, Big Papi needs to be a man and take his lumps. Of course, I will continue praying that by some miracle he has a real excuse.
As for the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships, it’s hard to call them tainted. It’s hard not to though. I wrote an article when Manny was suspended that him on steroids didn’t take anything away from Boston’s two championships. However, adding Ortiz to the steroid list changes things. It’s just very hard to see how much it changes. Without knowing exactly who was on steroids, it’s impossible to accurately say which team cheated the most. The Red Sox certainly had their fair share of cheaters and Ortiz and Manny certainly call the team into question. But what about the pitching? Was it clean? If everyone on every team was clean, would the Red Sox still have won? No one will ever know the answer for that question, but because we are asking those questions, it does take something away. The entire era can be wrapped up in those questions so every World Series champion, every MVP and Cy Young award winner, and every superstar can be called into question.
For those Yankee fans out there who are licking their lips over this story, remember that steroid use didn’tbegin in 2003. Look back to those glory years in the mid-to-late ’90s. What if we knew who was juicing from that group? Would that take away from those trophies? Certainly in the last decade New York has gone through many many steroids users. From Clemens to Sheffield to Giambi to A-Rod, the team has had more than their fair share of ‘roids. Even with Manny and Papi on PEDs, the Yankees have still been helped by steroids more than the Red Sox have been helped, at least as far as we know. Just as with the World Series trophies, without more information, it’s impossible to know who has been helped more. Maybe it was equal. Maybe it was the Orioles. No one knows and no one will ever know. So Yankee fans can feel free to attack and attack and attack. Papi and Manny killed New York for years and the Yankees had no comeback for them. Now they do and they are free to use it.
Papi deserves to be booed for his actions. The Fenway Faithful never will do it, butYankee fans certainly will and so will the rest of the league. Ortiz hurt the rest of his baseball with his bat over and over again for the Boston Red Sox and their fans. Now however, the tables haveturned and he has dealt Sox fans a brutal blow, shattering their trust and faith. It’s a shame that he’ll be forgiven so easily, but what else can you do? We still need him to hit and to help the Sox win ballgames. He just deserves to see the pain, anger, and sadness that his actions have caused. So Yankee fans, let it rip. It won’t mean much coming from you guys since he will always be booed in New York with or without steroids, but at least someone will be giving him the treatment that he deserves.