Did David Ortiz admit to more than he realized with his Players’ Tribune editorial?


Here’s something fun to think about: David Ortiz Players’ Tribune editorial in which he said that “nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me” may be an admission of more than Ortiz realizes.

Under the Joint Drug Agreement, all players are, at the outset anyway, tested twice a year. According to Section 3(A) of the JDA, your urine is tested (a) once in spring training; and (b) once randomly during the regular season.

In addition to those mandatory drug tests for all players, there are additional random ones set forth in section 3(A)(2). Specifically, (a) 3,200 urine specimen collections of randomly-selected players at unannounced times in-season; and (b) 350 urine specimen collections at unannounced times during each off-season.

So, what that means is 2-3 and, if you’re unlucky, four drug tests a year. Plus the new HGH blood tests, which happen once a year for all players, in spring training.

Unless, that is, you have tested positive for something in the past. In that case, section 3(D) comes into play, and that involves up to six additional unannounced urine tests during the season and three additional blood tests:

A Player who is disciplined under Sections 7.A, 7.B, 7.C, 7.E, 7.F or 7.G, or has otherwise violated the Program through the use or possession of a Performance Enhancing Substance, Stimulant or DHEA, shall be subject to the following mandatory follow-up testing program, administered by the IPA . . .

People inside the game refer to those players who have the stepped-up, post-discipline testing as being “in the program.” Just yesterday the Daily News referred to this in the case of Alex Rodriguez, who is now subject to stepped-up testing.

So let’s go back to David Ortiz. He claims he’s been tested 80 times in the decade or so there has been drug testing. That’s an awful lot of testing, especially when you consider that the blood testing just started last year. And that, until last year, the number of in-season random tests was less than half of what it is now. Given that a player not “in the program” gets, at most, four tests a year and more likely 2-3 (less before last year), what possible basis could there be for Ortiz to be tested as often as he claims he has been other than a previous positive test?

“But wait!” I hear you claiming, “He’s all but admitted that he is on the list of players who tested positive in the 2003 survey testing, so this isn’t news.” True, but no players were put in “the program” as a result of the 2003 survey tests. Indeed, the very existence of the 2003 survey testing was premised on their being no discipline for anyone at all. That’s why it was called survey testing. And, at any rate, the rules for stepped-up testing weren’t even written yet by then. No, to be “in the program,” Ortiz would have had to have another positive drug test, after the survey testing began.

“But wait!” I hear you saying, “Ortiz has never been suspended!” Also true. He has not been. But, until very recently, players were not suspended for first offenses for amphetamines. They were put into mandatory drug counseling, not suspended. And their names were not released to the public. They were, however, subjected to “the program” and its stepped-up testing. It says so right there in Section 3(D).

So, we’re left with two explanations. Either Ortiz is grossly exaggerating how often he has been tested — possibly by a factor three or four — or Ortiz is telling the truth, he has been tested as often as he claims and the reason for it is that he is or has been “in the program” for previous drug offenders and we just didn’t know about it.

If neither of those is the case there is a third possibility, I guess: that Ortiz is being singled out by MLB for multiple times more testing than anyone else. If so, he should call his union rep immediately and file a grievance rather than spending his time writing editorials about how ho-hum all of this stepped-up drug testing he has been subjected to really is. Really: if he’s not lying about how often he’s tested and he hasn’t had a previous positive test for amphetamines, then Major League Baseball has singled him out for significantly more testing than anyone else and he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

Now go back and read Ortiz’s editorial — and go back to other instances in which Ortiz has felt that he was treated unfairly — and ask yourself if he’s a guy who doesn’t seem to mind too much about anything.