In the same season that Major League Baseball suspended 14 players for ties to Tony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic, the World Series is now being dominated by David Ortiz, an ageing player with his own link to performance-enhancing drugs.
In the first five games of the Fall Classic, Ortiz is 11-15 (.733) with two home runs. Not bad for a guy whose career appeared to be over four years ago.
While it may not be fair to speculate about how clean a player is if he has never tested positive for an illegal drug, the same can’t be said for Ortiz. In 2009, the New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of over 100 players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
Ortiz denied that he ever used steroids and blamed the positive test on being “careless” when using supplements he purchased over the counter. The players’ association also claimed that certain supplements that were legal at the time could have triggered a positive result.
But none of that matters to many baseball fans outside of Boston. To them, Ortiz is a cheater and there is no way to be certain he is clean now.
Keep in mind that none of the players associated with Biogenesis failed a drug test suggesting that the cheaters are still well-ahead of the testers. It is also not unfair to think that there are other Tony Boschs out there and these 14 players are just the ones that got caught.
As much as Major League Baseball wants us to believe that steroids are no longer widespread in the sport, it is clear there is still a big problem. And here we are in the World Series and one of the sport’s biggest stars, with his own links to performance-enhancing drugs, is having one of the most dominating performances ever.
Oh yeah, and he is 37-years-old.
The Red Sox may indeed go on to win the World Series. But when Ortiz lifts up the MVP trophy, all many fans will see is the dark cloud above it.
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