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Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 5/9/13

Via Larry Brown Sports:

David Ortiz is off to the best start of his career with the Boston Red Sox. A notoriously slow starter in April, Big Papi is hitting .381 with 17 RBI and four home runs through only 16 games. He missed the first 15 games of the season because of an Achilles’ injury that stemmed back to last July, but the 37-year-old returned without missing a beat.

Since Ortiz’s hot start in 2013 is unusual for a player his age who normally comes crawling out of the gate, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe decided he would be the first one to bring up the steroid talk — despite the fact that Ortiz has only appeared in 16 games.

Hitting is not this easy. Athletes do not get better as they mature into their late 30s. Baseball has been peppered with performance-enhancing drugs for the last 20 years. The cheaters are always ahead of the testers. A number of players from the Dominican Republic have tested positive for steroids. Injuries to the Achilles’ tendon are consistent with steroid use. It is not natural for a guy to hit .426 out of the gate without the benefit of any spring training.

Of course, Shaughnessy pointed to the fact that Ortiz’s name appeared on a list of players who tested positive back in 2003. That being said, he has not failed a drug test in the last 10 years. If you think Ortiz is using performance-enhancing drugs, you must think either Major League Baseball is covering for him or he has found a way to cheat the system.

It should be noted that Shaughnessy is a notorious pessimist. It has basically become part of his job description. He was one of the most vocal people in counting the Red Sox out before their miraculous comeback against the New York Yankees in 2004, and it has been thrown in his face ever since. That doesn’t mean his inferences don’t bother Ortiz.

“Where are you trying to go with this?” Ortiz asked Shaughnessy. “That’s my question. If you work hard, you’re not supposed to get better?”

Shaughnessy then pointed out that he could touch the rim when he played basketball in high school but isn’t out there throwing down dunks today. Shaughnessy also went to high school over 40 years ago. Ortiz was 30 seven years ago.

“Basketball is not the same,” Ortiz replied. “I don’t forget about hitting the damn fastball. I go up (to the weight room) and I bench press 400 pounds. Every other day. If I don’t do it, I’m not going to feel as strong as I am.

“I don’t like to be talking about this steroid thing because people get the wrong idea. I just don’t want no misunderstanding ’cause I got no time for this [expletive] right now.”

Ortiz has not forgotten how to hit a baseball just as Shaughnessy has not lost his knack for ruffling feathers. Perhaps that is a better comparison at this stage in their careers. Shaughnessy is once again simply looking for attention by writing something with shock value.

During an interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez before Wednesday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins, Ortiz said he is “hurt” by the accusations.

“I have bad Aprils [and] they bury me, or some reporter buries me because of that,” he said. “I have a good April [and] it’s bad, too. You’re going to make me look like that just because I’m hitting good through 15 games?. I mean, it makes no sense.”

We know Ortiz had a lame excuse for his name appearing on the 2003 banned substances list, but that doesn’t mean he is taking steroids now. Neither does a solid start to the 2013 season. If Ortiz falls into a massive slump and hits .200 for the rest of the season, Shaughnessy will be first in line to call him a washed-up superstar who simply doesn’t have it anymore. Welcome to Boston.

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14 Comments:
  • Pay no attention to your detractors. The same people had you all washed up last year. We love you Big Poppy!
  • David Ortiz is a hads been he don't have it anymore boston needs to be smart and trade him he getting to old also a few other players they need to trade off thats stinks maybe the manger too
  • Go Papi Go!! Go Papi Go!! David Ortiz is and always will be one of the great hitters and characters in baseball and we are proud he is a Bosox. Even at 37 he is one of the best hitters in the league. 15 games is not the barometer let's see what he does over 50 games. My guess is he will have a lot of HR's & RBI's and more power to him!!!
  • I guess we will have to investigate the year Ted Williams's average after 132 ball games was .388. I'm sure Mr. Dan Shaughnessy has some kind of reasoning for that stat. Oh by the way Ted was 39 years old when he hit for that average.
  • Is it any wonder the Boston Globe is broke and up for sale with morons like Shaughnessy writing for them. Remember 2004 Dan?
  • I used to buy the Globe because of its sports section and certainly not because of its politics. But it got worse when Ray Fitzgerald and Harold Kaese passed on. Hell, Peter Gammons was its baseball guru. Still has Kevin DuPont though.

    Dan's a bit of a bomb-thrower although every publication has its polemicist in order to create a buzz.

    Now I read its op-eds just to elevate my low blood pressure and dream about the scribes of old.
  • There's a lot die hard Red Sox fans out there who don't like anyone putting their ball players down. But in all honest - what if this was REALLY true about David Ortiz - that the team is covering this up. I simply do not trust anyone in the MLB.
    Everyone is playing dirty. I'm sorry but I do believe Ortiz is on the juice. To be gone for a long while in Dominican Republic
    then all of a sudden batting 500. That's to real to be true. To all the fans hate whatever is said but in reality if the Red Sox organization is covering this up then the matter will get worse down the road. By Bud Selig request they should give Ortiz an UNEXPECTED steroid test then lets see what the evidence shows. The MLB needs to get proof and evidence on Ortiz on this UNEXPECTED steroid test. A lot of the fans would be totally shock if this was TRUE.

    PS. ALL Replies won't be reply back.
  • Don't worry Papi, Their only Sportswriters!
  • Papi, don't listen to that jerk, he's been a jerk since day one and he will always will be a jerk!!! You are my hero!!! Don't let the negative people get you down!!!
  • To all the idiots defending him: You know he was in the mitchell report for testing positive in 2004??? Right??? You realize that right??? But he is the only one at his age still able to hit like that naturally? Come on...If it smells like a rat and looks like a rat..I don't understand the need to defend him. EVERYONE CHEATS....it's who get's caught and who doesn't
  • He is a self-promoting whiner and the king of the "me first" spoiled athletes. Of course he is juicing. Now he plays the race/ethnicity card. Can't wait for the Red Sox to move on from this bum.
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