This News Hurts
|07.30.09 at 6:25 pm ET|
The first thing that hits me is that phrase. I don’t think anybody really is surprised in this day and age, no matter whose name comes out. But people talk about Manny and A-Rod because maybe personality-wise they don’t like some of the things they do. David’s different. People love him. He’s a great person, they should love him; he’s a good friend. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to him.
It doesn’t change the type of person he is. He made a mistake, but hopefully he addresses it the right way. I think many people have showed us how to handle it so hopefully he comes out, talks about it and admits it, and moves on. That’s the way to get by it. People will now judge him, this team and its accomplishments.
I was David’s teammate in 2003, both in spring training and then again when the Red Sox brought me back through a trade in the middle of the year. Even though that was David’s breakout year, nothing made me suspicious about it. I always felt if you looked at the games played in Minnesota the at-bats, there were some numbers that were projected pretty close to what he did in Boston. He just didn’t have the at-bats that he did here. I talked to him about learning how to hit the fastball in. That’s how teams used to beat him. That’s a big power spot. If you learn to hit that fastball in, your power improves. I think he’s worked on a couple of those things. That was the reason I always felt he became a superstar.
Has he done it since? We don’t know. We haven’t heard anything about it. We do know now about ’03, so it’s unfortunate, but I’ve always looked at the fact that he was a part-time player in Minnesota that’s the reason why. People always forget that when they say he was nothing in Minnesota. I’ve always felt that was a big difference.
David has been outspoken about keeping the game clean, but I think it’s tough on all the players. The more they talk about it, the more they can say things and you can look back and judge them. We don’t know if in ’06 he was taking them. Maybe in ’06 he was clean; maybe he did it in ’02 or ’03 to get on the scene. There’s a lot of pressure on these guys to get on the scene and make that one big contract and then maybe you get off of it. We don’t know.
It’s naive to think it, but at the same time you have to give the benefit of the doubt until the end, until we find out otherwise. But players in his position Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, they are forced to answer some questions and I think you answer them properly to the best that you can. I don’t think anybody that is going to come out and admit, “I know I haven’t been caught yet but I’ve been using, too.”
That will never come out of a players mouth. There’s just no reason for it. You deal with it when you get caught. So that’s kind of the reality of the situation. You deny it until something happens. He went into the subject at length in spring training, when details of his association with a Dominican trainer (Angel Presinal) who has been accused of steroid distribution came out. He talked more than I thought he was going to or maybe should have. He addressed that issue, too, but once again he was kind of forced to because it was in his face. When you’re a player of his magnitude, you’re sometimes forced to answer questions and, like I said, if you think you’re going to have one of these players come out and say, “By the way, I’m on that list too I just never got caught,” that’s just not going to happen.
For David’s teammates, I think it could add another distraction to a bad week. This is a tough week with the trade deadline. There’s a lot of changes. You saw how this team played last year coming into the deadline, you see how they are playing now coming into the deadline. What this does is create a big distraction for one individual guy. David Ortiz is going to have to deal with this for the whole road trip, then deal with it again when he comes back for the first time.
It will last him a few weeks – if not even longer – but guys in the clubhouse are going to have to answer questions about David: How do you feel about David? It’s just a distraction you try to avoid and really isn’t necessary but you have to deal with it.
Then again, it could go the other way. He is a well-respected guy in the clubhouse, and another way of looking at it is that he’s a well-respected guy and it could bring the team together in support of David.
Even so, it probably doesn’t do anything to change how the Sox need to approach the trade deadline. I think you look at the moment now, not back in ’03. If you like the way he is swinging the bat now and the way he has been swinging the last month or two, then you’re fine. It’s not like just because this news comes out he is going to lose production. He is what he is today and what he was a week ago — maybe not what he was in ’03, but you see what you have right now, you have a guy that I think is good in the middle of that line up – not great, but still good. I think that’s enough.
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