August 8, 2009

Ortiz Feigns Ignorance At Farcical Press Conference

David Ortiz's press conference was a joke. He promised information, but shared none, choosing to hide behind evasive answers and pure ignorance. Better to be thought of as an idiot than a PED-user, though he will clearly now be labeled as both. (video)

Ortiz said he never used steroids, but was careless about buying legal supplements and vitamins in the DR and the US. He said the union did not tell him about his positive test. When MLB's drug policies were revised in 2004, he stopped taking the supplements. He has been tested at least 15 times since then -- all clean.

Someone finally asked him which supplements he was taking back in 2003. He said he had no idea, he was clueless, he did not pay attention. (How would he then know which ones worked for him and which ones did not?)

But since those products -- whatever they might have been, who the hell knows what I was taking when my baseball career was in danger of ending -- were banned, he has been eating better and working harder. (So all you kids stay in school and drink your milk.)

I was waiting for him to say something like
In 2003, I was taking x, y and z -- and something from one or more of those -- maybe f, g or h -- resulted in a positive test.
Nope. Nothing. Has no idea of even one thing he took. If it was legal in 2003 and then banned in 2004 and he stopped using it, fine, why not say that? He claimed he has no idea if he ever took andro.

If he has no idea what he took, how can he say he knows he never took steroids? And how did he know which supplements to stop taking when they were banned?

That was a sad, pathetic spectacle. What Ortiz did not say made more of a statement than his actual words.
The Red Sox's statement:
The Players Association made clear in its public statement today that there are substantial uncertainties and ambiguity surrounding the list of 104 names from the 2003 survey test. Indeed, there is even uncertainty about the number of players on this 2003 government list, whether it is 104, 96, 83, or less. Many of those uncertainties apparently relate to the use of then-legal nutritional supplements that were not banned by Baseball.

David vigorously denied ever buying or using steroids. As important, Major League Baseball has informed us that David has been tested every year since the implementation of the MLB/MLBPA program in 2004 and, under the program, he has been tested 15 or more different times. We have been informed that, during this entire 6-year period (2004-2009), David has never tested positive for a steroid. Also during this period, David voluntarily submitted himself to the Olympic standard of drug tests administered in connection with the World Baseball Classics in 2006 and in 2009. We are informed he did not test positive for steroids under those tests either, and he participated actively in both international tournaments.

Last week, David said he would keep people informed after he personally looked into reports of his inclusion on the 2003 survey test. He has done so. David Ortiz is a team leader, and his contributions on the field and in the community have earned him respect and a special place in the hearts of Red Sox Nation.

We appreciate the attention given to this specific matter by the Players Association and the Office of the Commissioner. The Boston Red Sox continue to support all efforts to rid the game of steroids. We again salute Commissioner Selig for his staunch and continuing leadership in eradicating the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.


L-girl said...

What a shame.

Thanks for being brutally honest about a player you have loved for so long.

redsock said...

It was a clear strategy for Ortiz to act like a careless fool. I was hoping for some honesty, at least a little.

Arroyo came right out last week and said Fuckin' A right I took andro, and I loved it, but when it was banned, I stopped. He's not a Ortiz-level star, but did that make much of a wave at all?

How hard is it to say I took something when it was legal and allowed by MLB and when I was told it was now not allowed, I stopped?


redsock said...

There is this also, from ToeKneeArmAss:
"It's pretty Kafkaesque to be declared guilty in the press by anonymous sources, and then not have access to the evidence on which those accusations were based."

I agree.

But he still could have been far more forthcoming if he was indeed clean.

redsock said...

I guess he has to play dumb since he apparently doesn't know what he tested positive for.

9casey said...

Someone cleary asked him not sya what he took......and the Rep talked about Andro like that was what he took....Farcical, I don't know I think there are bigger issues that mlbpa is trying to get to the bottom of...The 15 tests from '04 are enough for me...I think it would behoove the mlbpa to publish all the negative results and how many times a player was tested helps to have a list to battle the list....

9casey said...

to add: 15 times seemed like alot to me. So, The Red Sox and mlb should take that and run with that from a PR standpoint.....

johngoldfine said...

Ortiz's situation: I've been in the position of paying a lawyer to procede and intercede for me, to strategize, to think of words and arguments.

I both hated the lawyer for his condescension and desperately hung on his every utterance, hoping he somehow had a magic key to unlock the problem. Not a situation to bring out the best in anyone.

All Ortiz had to do was look at Roger C. for an object lesson in how words can come back to bite you. He played it safe. 'Careless fool' if you like.

I hope he's passed that shit out of his system and shows it with some dongs this afternoon.

redsock said...

The 15 tests from '04 are enough for me...

MLB does not test for HGH and a whole bunch of other drugs that it may or may not know even exist. A negative test means next to nothing. Could be he's smart enough to avoid anything that could trigger a positive test.

All Ortiz had to do was look at Roger C. for an object lesson in how words can come back to bite you. He played it safe. 'Careless fool' if you like.

I understand. But there is a lot of middle ground between what he did and TCM's plan.

Like I said, I know he was likely following the union's directive to say nothing, but if he knows he never took steroids and is telling the truth that he took legal stuff but stopped when it was illegal and is not taking anything now, then what is there to hide? It is all above board. He's not under oath.

Again, I truly don't care what he took. He is still The Man. But I expected him to put on a better show than this. His failure to follow through on his promise to speak honestly pisses me off.

But, assuming this is it, this will fade into the past like everything else.

Play ball.

9casey said...

redsock said...
The 15 tests from '04 are enough for me...

MLB does not test for HGH and a whole bunch of other drugs that it may or may not know even exist.

They do test for over 80 different drugs.. some being most commomly found in allergy meds and cold medicine..Half us on any given day could fail that test.

redsock said...

The following is a transcript of David Ortiz's opening comments at today's press conference, courtesy of the Globe's Chris Estrada:

All right. You guys ready? You guys know that I got my Spanish/Dominican accent, so if there’s something that you guys misunderstand, don’t be afraid to feed me back and I can clear things up.

I find out last Thursday that I was on the list and right away, I put myself in contact with the union to get more information about this list and they confirmed that the newspaper came out and that I was on the list. I was trying to get more information about why I’m on the list and I don’t know why; nobody can tell me why I’m on the list. You know, I consider myself one of the guys that -- I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter. Legal supplements, legal vitamins over the counter. But I never buy a steroid or use the steroids.

I was one of the guys that I kind of got educated more about the situation when the [indistinguishable] came out and I started to put more attention to it. But I never thought that buying supplements and vitamins, it was going to hurt anybody’s feelings and that happened. And I’m sorry about that. But that wasn’t my case, my situation.

One of the things that I want to talk about is that there was a misunderstanding about my statement when I first talked about meeting with the union back in 2004. I did meet with Michael [Weiner] in 2004, but I was never told that I tested positive for steroids. We had this fine meeting and it was a little confusing, but I was never told that I tested positive for steroids, so as this thing was going on -- I don’t know how I had no idea about this going on now. I never put too much attention to it.

That’s why when I had my statement, I talk to you guys, that I was kind of surprised about the news, because I wasn’t too much involved with it. But like I say, I’m not here to make any excuses or anything. I used a lot of supplements and vitamins and even I have companies sending me supplements and things back then, but I never used or bought any steroids.

I’m the kind of guy that I want to apologize to the fans for the distraction, my teammates, our manager. We’re going through a situation right now. This past week has been a nightmare to me, because I’m the kind of guy that I look forward to -- I think about the fans every day. I don’t think this game could have been as good as it is without the fans. I’m a guy that people look at not only as the guy that hits the ball. I try to do things the right way. Your reputation, sometimes, when situations like this are going on, people get kind of confused.

This past week has been a really major distraction and I want to apologize to fans, my teammates, our team’s owners and everybody for that situation.

redsock said...

They do test for over 80 different drugs.. some being most commomly found in allergy meds and cold medicine..Half us on any given day could fail that test.

Right. And diet pills.

But his statements do not add up. He says he never took steroids. But he also said he couldn't remember which supplements he was taking six years ago. It is a near certainty that some of those old supplements contained steroids. So th eonly way he could deny taking steroids is if he knew exactly what he took in 2003. But he said he has no idea. He could even guess.

It's bullshit. He said he'd tell us everything when he found out. I do not see how anyone could say he honoured that promise.

If he wants to explain what he took and the union is saying No, I wish he'd do it anyway.

L-girl said...

"If he wants to explain what he took and the union is saying No, I wish he'd do it anyway."

That's not so easy to do, nor necessarily what any player should do.

If you have representation that you and others count on, and you don't agree with their plan, you don't publicly and on your own go with your own plan. You can try to get your lawyer or union to change their tactics, but you don't just strike out on your own - leaving yourself unprotected and possibly hanging everyone else out to dry at the same time.

I agree it would have been better to take an Arroyo-like route (might I add even an A-Rod-like route). But he's in an impossible situation, as ToeKneeArmAss points out, and as the union statement makes even clearer.

tim said...

His comments about not remembering which 'supplements' he took in 2003 lead me to a mental image of the cookie monster in a #34 red sox jersey holding a cookie pot labeled "supplements" ferociously eating them ("NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM") with pills of all different sizes/colours flying through the air out of the pot as he gobbles them all up.

Then he stops to breathe for a second, as his eyes go bloodshot red and he screams "STEROID STEROID STEROID!!!!! ME HIT HOME RUN!!!!!"

/tim's professional review of this press conference

redsock said...


Very funny!

S is for steroid, it's good enough for me
S is for steroid, it's good enough for me
S is for steroid, it's good enough for me
Steroid, steroid, steroid starts with C

Amy said...

Call me naive (it won't be the first time), but I can read Papi's statement to mean: I took things, I didn't know what was in them, I never knowingly took steroids, I thought it was just stuff that was legal.

Let's face it, Papi is not a brain surgeon, and he does come across as an innocent. Maybe he was not feigning ignorance, maybe he was really ignorant. Yes, I want to believe in him, and if this were ARod or Clemens, I would not cut him this break. But for Papi, I am willing to suspend disbelief.

redsock said...

Jason Bay:
"I thought he handled it well. He handled it as best he could with the information that they were giving him. I know a lot of people think it was a lot of legal speak and what have you, but that's the position that he's in. I think he answered what he could. That's basically all you can ask."

Maxwell Horse said...

I guess I'm a rube, but the press conference for me actually changed my opinion somewhat. I came into it thinking that Ortiz probably cheated. Afterwards, I had my doubts.

And yeah, I could definitely see how someone--especially in 2003 when the baseball climate didn't hammer stringency into people's heads like it does now--could take a supplement in the hopes it might give them some edge without knowing the exact ingredients in the thing.

The only analogy I have personally has to do with prescription meds. Someone might call me dumb for trusting a doctor if he told me a med was safe without first doing tons of internet research to find all the pros and cons for myself. Some years ago, however, that's precisely what's happened. I trusted the doc, assumed a med I was taking couldn't hurt me. Now today I'm still dealing with some truly awful side effects that I worry may be permanent.

I know *now* to be extra wary of *any* drug I put in my body, whether or not the FDA calls it safe. But I only know that because I got burned.

I apologize if this analogy isn't an apples-to-apples thing.

L-girl said...

FWIW the radio announcers came away with the same impression as Maxwell Horse. And I don't think it's just playing yes-men to the team - at least not in Dave O'Brien's case, since he loves to bash players for any reason.

* * * *

Also, off-topic but replying to the comment above, it's not at all "dumb" to trust a doctor who says a medication is safe. I do it all the time and I'm sure many people reading this do.

If you do enough internet research, you can find evidence (although not proof) that every single drug out there is unsafe. Your doctor is supposed to have sorted through all that, checked the percentages, and determined that the drug is safe enough for use before s/he prescribes it - and warned you about the possibilities that it's not, so you can make an informed choice.

The internet is great for learning about potential treatments, but it's not a doctor - your doctor should be more trustworthy than internet forums. If she's not, she's not doing her job.

Sorry for off-topic, MH's post rang a bell for me!

L-girl said...

Also FWIW, I didn't watch or hear the media conference, but reading the transcript I don't have a very negative impression either.

I don't care too much either way - whether or not he took PEDs (I mostly assume he did) and whether or not he owns up to it - but I do find what he's saying fairly credible.

I never really understand the "OMG he lied!!" response. Many people act like whatever you do is ok if you just "come clean" about it - like lying to fans is the worst thing an athlete can do.

I doubt everyone who is offended by the lying has lived a completely honest life, never told a lie. Most people, when they've done something wrong, would rather cover it up than get caught.

Amy said...

Nice to know that I am not the only one who finds Ortiz credible. Maxwell Horse, thanks for your personal analogy. I know that I have taken "supplements" like St John's Wort and L-tryptophan without a clue as to what was in them. The latter was pulled from the market soon after I started using it.

Maxwell Horse said...

"The latter was pulled from the market soon after I started using it."

Ha. My med was pulled from the market as well, but only just after I suffered the worst of the initial effects. Bitter irony, the timing of that.