It’s been quite a night for The Player’s Tribune. In addition to having Brady Aiken break the news about his Tommy John surgery, they also got this doozy of a first-person essay from Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Amusingly enough, he’s the “editor at large” for The Player’s Tribune.
Anyway, there’s a lot to unpack in this piece and you should really go read it all, because it’s full of some great lines and interesting anecdotes. Referring to Dan Shaughnessy as “the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe” was my favorite. However, what will likely get the most attention will be his steadfast denial of PED use.
In some people’s minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that’s bulls***. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I’ve been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it’s really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It’s no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.
On the subject of the infamous leaked list of players who were flagged for PED use from 2003, Ortiz says he never knowingly took anything against the rules and didn’t even know that he tested positive until he saw the report on ESPN in 2009 like the rest of the public. He explained that the positive test was likely the result of an over-the-counter supplement:
But back in the early 2000s, you’d go into GNC and the guy working there would say, “Hey, take this stuff. It’s great. It builds muscle, helps with soreness, burns fat, whatever.”
Okay, sure, I’ll take that. I’m buying an over-the-f***ing-counter supplement in the United States of America. I’m buying this stuff in line next to doctors and lawyers. Now all of a sudden MLB comes out and says there’s some ingredient in GNC pills that have a form of steroid in them. I don’t know anything about it.
If you think I’m full of it, go to your kitchen cabinet right now and read the back of a supplement bottle and honestly tell me you know what all of that stuff is. I’m not driving across the border to Mexico buying some shady pills from a drug dealer. I’m in a strip mall across from the Dunkin’ Donuts, bro.
As for getting in the Hall of Fame, Ortiz wrote that “hell yes” he deserves it, citing that he has been a contributor on three World Series championship teams since increased drug testing has gone into effect and that he continues to produce year in and year out.
This is obviously a one-sided piece and Ortiz has his own agenda, but at least he’s getting that opportunity now rather than have his quotes filtered through traditional media. The Player’s Tribune continues to change the game.