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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Drip, Drip Toward Infamy

Today, the New York Times provided a report that confirms what a lot of people have suspected.

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were among the 104 major league players listed as having tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003, lawyers with knowledge of the results told The New York Times.

The two were key members of the
Boston Red Sox World Series championship teams in 2004 and 2007.

The lawyers did not name the substances Ramirez and Ortiz tested positive for, The Times reported.

On Thursday, before the Red Sox-Athletics game at Fenway Park, when Ortiz was asked about the 2003 drug test, he told The Times: "I'm not talking about that anymore," he said. "I have no comment."

This latest revelation should put to rest any belief that Ramirez' recent positive test was an anomaly. As for Ortiz, if this report is accurate that means that his entire career has been manufactured. Ortiz was a marginal player until he arrived in Boston in 2003 and his stats exploded. To put it into perspective, in all his time in Minnesota, seven years, he only had 57 home runs total. He had 31 homers in 2003 and 30 or more for five straight years in Boston. Yet, his time in Boston coincides with this positive drug tests.

This indicates that Ortiz was a marginal player that struggled to make a major league roster. Then he began cheating and he wound up being a perennial All Star. Much like Eric Gagne, there is now strong evidence that Ortiz manufactured a career and a life by cheating. If the timeline is accurate in both the Mitchell report and in this latest revelation, then both were marginal players, began cheating, and turned into perennial all stars. Both wound up in the record books, made tens of millions, and Ortiz even won two World Series titles during periods when they cheated. (again assuming everything is accurate)

To put this into perspective, this latest revelation should makes both World Series titles by the Red Sox totally corrupted and thus ought to be voided. Both Ramirez and Ortiz were the two heavy hitters in the middle of that line up for both titles. If they cheated to produce their numbers, then how else should we treat those titles.

The problem with all of these after the fact revelations is that in reality almost everything that happened in the fifteen years or so that steroids were prevalent renders almost all results worthless. If we knew the full truth, then we'd likely find out that major stars on almost all World Series winners were cheating. If cheaters were major contributors to a World Series title, how can it be judged as anything but tainted?

For baseball, this all couldn't be happening in a worse way. The sport would like nothing more than to move forward. Instead, we are treated to random revelations that remind everyone just how corrupt it all was for years. Unfortunately, the whole thing is much deserved. The sport pretended that none of this was happening when systemic steroid use lead directly to more homers and that lead directly to more fans. Now, some would like to move on and forget that anything happened. Of course, that's impossible. Baseball reaped the financial rewards of mass cheating in the form of more fans. The powers that be took on a see no evil hear no evil approach. The sport is now in an untennable position. Fifteen years produced so much cheating that everything that happened at the time is ultimately rendered worthless. All records and championships are rendered meaningless. How does the sport move on from there? The sport would like to put that inconvient fact behind it quickly but instead we have a drip, drip of bad news that comes out and it reminds us all just how bad it was.

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