I wasn’t going to comment on the recent news concerning David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez testing positive on a performance enhancing drug test back in 2003, but I thought as a proud Yankees fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. The thing is… well, it’s complicated. My feelings about it are a bit complex and I didn’t want to just hastily bang something out and then realize that I left out important ideas.
As a life time Yankees fan living in Connecticut, I’ve always been very familiar with the Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry and all the trash talk that goes along with it. I’ve learned to dish it out and take it with the best of them. In the past decade (has it really been that long?), there have been some ups and downs – mostly ups for them and downs for us. The tables had turned and we were humbled. As I’ve grown and matured as a fan, I’ve learned that a classy fan is a quiet fan. This is why I was so hesitant to make any comments at all about the subject.
Am I shocked? Of course not. It was 2003 – right around the time he went from your average player to a baseball superstar. And it was just before they really started cracking down and testing for the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. There’s a lot of pressure on these guys to be great. I get it… I want to be great at my job, too. And if so many people were doing it, and it sounds like they all were, how could they not? They had to keep up with the competition, right? I get it.
This should quiet some of the smack talk I’ve had to endure the past few years… I’ve grown tired of always hearing about A-Rod (who hasn’t heard him referred to as A-Roid?), Giambi and Pettitt and everyone else using steroids and getting called cheaters. It was only a matter of time before news broke of a Red Sox player testing positive for steroid use. I hear Big Papi is a really good guy, and you almost feel bad, but he was so outspoken about being against them!
This is what Ortiz said in Fort Myers, Fla., last Feb. 16: “I know that if I test positive for using any kind of substance, I know that I’m going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans, and everybody, and I don’t want to be facing that situation. So what would I do? I won’t use it . . . you test everybody three, four times a year and that’s about it. You do what you got to do. Yeah, whatever they say. Ban them for a whole year.’’
It got headlines. Ortiz says one-year ban for players who test positive. It played well to the masses.
Again, I’m not really going to say anything bad about the Sox… On Facebook the last couple of days, I’ve seen lots of Yankees fans running their mouths. That’s just not my style. A healthy dose of schadenfreude feels good once in awhile, but lord knows we have our own pile of dirty laundry. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and Yankee Stadium is one unbelievably fragile glass mansion.
Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe really summed up my own ideas best is his article, Suffering From Roid Rage:
The timing and the numbers are particularly damning for Big Papi. He was ordinary before 2003. Then he cheated. Then he was great. Now there is testing and he is less than ordinary. You don’t need Jose Canseco to connect the dots.
As for Manny, what is left to say? When he got caught this year, Sox fans wanted to believe he started cheating after he left Boston. Now his entire career is flushed down the toilet. Along with Ortiz.
No more innocence.
No more fairy tales.
The 2004 Red Sox really were Idiots. Just like the Yankees and everybody else.
Our cheaters were better than their cheaters.
The Red Sox have really been no different from the Yankees all these years. Welcome to the club, RSN, we’re all rooting for overpaid, overgrown children. They’re jerks and they shouldn’t be worshipped as heroes, but they’re our jerks.