David Ortiz rips Mike Fiers, defends Rob Manfred

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David Ortiz appeared at Boston Red Sox camp today and spoke to the media. Usually when a beloved retired player does that it’s all sunshine and rainbows. An effort for some easy goodwill and some soft press coverage.

Ortiz, however, was not briefed on that, because he said some things that are likely going to get people talking:

Three things to note here.

First, as the Red Sox’ greatest living ambassador, any comments he makes diminishing the present conference should probably be taken with copious amounts of salt given that the Red Sox are tied up in all of this too. Indeed, they have yet to have the report of their misdeeds released. One can and should read any comments from a Red Sox-associated person who seeks to cast this as smaller potatoes than it is — something we should “chillax” about — as an exercise in damage control. Here, preemptive damage control.

Second, it’s probably worth noting that, while Ortiz has been dogged for years about PED rumors, Manfred came to his aid when he retired, making an unusually specific defense of Ortiz’s record on that score. That defense will, I am 100% certain, will be cited by Hall of Fame voters in a few years, giving them a justification to vote for Ortiz despite the fact that they have used the same sketchy PED evidence Manfred dismissed in Ortiz’s case to not vote for others. Is this a case of you wash my back, I wash yours? Is it a case of Ortiz working the ref — in this case, killing the ref with kindness — before he releases the Red Sox report? I don’t know, dear readers, but it could certainly be construed that way.

Finally, as for the Fiers stuff, it’s probably worth noting that the man Ortiz is mad about snitching — Fiers — was lauded in a press conference the other day by the man he’s defending, Manfred. It’s also worth noting, as we noted when Jessica Mendoza went after him, that Fiers is a whistleblower and that whistleblowers are ultimately a collective good. Fiers didn’t drop the dime anonymously, lending credibility to his claims at potentially great personal expense. We’re better off for having learned what Fiers shared with The Athletic about the Astros.

Anyway, glad to see you up and around and healthy, Big Papi.That’s something.