Colin Cowherd appeared on SportsCenter and talked about the hitting efficiency and dominance of David Ortiz during the World Series. Then he talked about a word that is very taboo for baseball players. Cowherd mentioned steroids and how Ortiz could be questioned for his outstanding World Series play.
There are two issues here – Ortiz’s alleged use of a banned substance and Ortiz’s past playoff performances. In 2003, Big Papi failed a drug test administered by Major League Baseball that was supposed to have remained anonymous. After the Steroid Era escapades, those results were leaked and Ortiz’s name was one of the 100 or so players who had tested positive for a banned substance.
MLB never said what Ortiz tested positive for, and Ortiz never gave insight into what he might have unknowingly taken. It’s not like he was going to post his doctor’s prescriptions online or open up his medicine cabinet for MTV Cribs. The fact is that his name was on a piece of paper. The post season he supposedly took PEDs or a banned substance, Ortiz hit a measly .191 with 15 strikeouts. This was over 47 at-bats so those stats are statistically relevant.
Fast forward to the next 5 Red Sox playoff appearances. Ortiz hit .400 in 2004 (55 AB), .333 in 2005 (12 AB), .370 in 2007 (46 AB), .186 in 2008 (43 AB), and .083 in 2009 (12 AB). He’s had mostly great success with some poor performances mixed in. There is nothing to suggest that he is hitting any better than he did in playoffs before, but there is a difference in the level Ortiz is hitting at versus that of his teammates.
The comments by Cowherd are only warranted because of the controversy that surrounded Ortiz after the 2003 test results were made public. That was 10 years ago. Ortiz is a likeable player, which helps his case for people to believe he doesn’t take anything illegal. However, the bigger problem I have is that this World Series is one for the ages and Cowherd has already discredited the best player in it.
I understand that there have been players even as recently as this season that have been caught and suspended for using banned substances, but don’t take away from the validity of the World Series pitting the two best teams in baseball. Yes there are great pitchers. Yes there are great hitters. And there is Big Papi.
He is displaying amazing baseball ability in clutch situations and should not be subject to the likes of a non-baseball expert. Enjoy the game and the Series, and let Major League Baseball deal with any accusations after the fact. There is nothing that can be done now even if it were true that Ortiz was cheating. I though like to believe that he is becoming a World Series story to tell your kids about.