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David Ortiz on Dale & Holley with Keefe: Yankees leaked 2003 failed drug test 05.22.17 at 2:28 pm ET
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David Ortiz continues to insist he didn't test positive for performance enhancung-drugs in 2003. : (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz continues to insist he didn’t test positive for performance enhancing-drugs in 2003.  (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz still seems bitter about his failed drug test getting leaked to the New York Times eight years ago.

In 2009, the Times identified Ortiz as one of 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing-drugs during a preliminary round of testing in Spring Training 2003. The results were supposed to remain anonymous, but they were never destroyed.

Since then, Ortiz has been a crusade to dispute the results. He claims to not know what he tested positive for, saying nobody has helped him identify the substance. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred backed up those questions during a visit to Fenway Park last October, when he said it’s “entirely possible” Ortiz didn’t test positive for steroids in 2003.

During an interview with WEEI’s Dale & Holley with Keefe Friday, when the conversation turned to the infamous failed test, Ortiz accused the Yankees of leaking his name to the press.

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he asked. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

While Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee whose name on the 2009 test was revealed –– though he was playing for the Rangers at the time –– a number of Bronx Bombers were on the 2007 Mitchell Report, a study on steroid use in MLB that was spearheaded by former Sen. George Mitchell. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch were all on the list. (Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield were both tied to BALCO, the Bay Area-based company that supplied Barry Bonds and other athletes with PEDs.)

Gene Orza, the former MLB Players Associating Chief Operating Officer, told the New York Daily News there’s no way the Yankees unmasked Ortiz’s name, since clubs didn’t have access to the list. Manny Ramirez, who wound up getting suspended twice for failed drug tests, was also named in the bombshell Times report.

In a 2015 Players’ Tribune essay, Ortiz said he passed more than 80 drug tests from 2004 until his penultimate season. But as NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra pointed out at the time, Ortiz may have inadvertently admitted to a positive drug test –– if he was being truthful. Only players who have previously tested positive for PEDs are checked that frequently. When the program was implemented, players weren’t suspended for first-time offenses or amphetamines.

Regardless, Ortiz continues to insist he’s innocent of any wrongdoing.

Nobody came to me after, nobody came to me before, nobody came to me ever to tell me that I test positive for any kind of steroids,” he told Dale & Holley with Keefe. “This was just something that leaked out of New York. They have still no explanation about it. It was just, ‘You’re name was there.’ I was like, ‘Oh, ok. See how that works.’ It’s not up to me anymore, about the Hall of Fame. I think I did what I was supposed to. I worked extremely hard to represent (Boston) the way I did.”

Read More: David Ortiz,
David Ortiz: Torii Hunter didn’t want to play for Red Sox because of racist taunts 05.17.17 at 4:18 pm ET
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David Ortiz says he doesn't think Boston fans are racist.  (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz says he doesn’t think Boston fans are racist. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Torii Hunter says he was heckled with racial taunts when he played at Fenway Park. The abuse was so bad, it dissuaded him from signing with the Red Sox, according to David Ortiz.

In an interview Wednesday on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Ortiz said he tried to recruit Hunter when the former outfielder was a free agent one year.

“I tried to have him play with me in Boston one year when he was a free agent,” Ortiz said, via the New York Daily News. “And [the slurs he experiences] bothered him so much that was reason enough for him not to come and play.”

On May 2, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones says the N-word was directed at him a “handful” of times at Fenway. Over the last two weeks, several black baseball players, including CC Sabathia, have relayed similar stories. The Red Sox have repeatedly condemned the reported behavior, with team president Sam Kennedy touting the club’s zero tolerance policy.

When asked Wednesday on “First Take” about his experiences in Boston, Ortiz said he doesn’t think a “couple of knuckleheads” should speak for the whole fan base –– echoing Pedro Martinez’s comments last week.

“In today’s day, I don’t think that’s what Boston represents,” Ortiz said. “I played in Boston for so long. I have never faced any racial situations over there. People are super nice over there. You sometimes get a couple of knuckleheads out there that get drink, get tipsy and then come out with that kind of stupidity. But I would tell athletes, ‘Don’t focus on that.’ That’s not what Boston is.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Fenway Park, torii hunter
Curt Schilling says Adam Jones has an ‘agenda’ 05.16.17 at 5:32 pm ET
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Curt Schilling says Adam Jones is lying about hearing the N-word at Fenway Park.  (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

Curt Schilling says Adam Jones is lying about hearing the N-word at Fenway Park. (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

Two weeks ago, Curt Schilling said Adam Jones was lying about hearing the N-word in Boston. Now Adam Jones has responded.

In a lengthy Q&A with Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, Jones offered his longest comments to date on the events at Fenway Park May 2, when he says he was called the N-word a “handful” of times. After talking about the importance of sparking conversation, he turned his attention to the former Red Sox hurler.

“[Curt] Schilling is over there with his rants. He just wants an outlet,” Jones said. “Somebody will take his call, take his rants. He can keep them for himself. Because he’s never experienced anything like I have. I’ll stick with what [Mark] McLemore said about it: Schilling, hell of a career. But he’s never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston.”

In a text message to WEEI.com, Schilling stood by his assertion. He said Jones, who frequently speaks out about racial issues, is interested in propagating a social genda.

“If he wants to maintain the lie he made here, that’s fine. No one denies racism exists, but when people like him lie about an incident and others just take him at his word, it perpetuates a mythical level of racism,” Schilling explained. “And for some reason, it appears blacks believe only blacks can talk about racism and only whites can be racists. I promise you if some scumbag yelled the N-word at Adam Jones in Fenway, it would have been on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site asap, like every other ‘incident.’ Not to mention the liberal Boston media would have broken its neck to identify the racist. But just taking him at his word means there are a bunch of white cowards and racists living here, because no one stood up to the guy. Adam has an agenda and one needs to only look at his past commentary on race and racism to see it. But see, when you question fake hate crimes in this day and age it somehow makes you a racist. If you use this use every word or none at all.”

The Red Sox, for one, are taking Jones at his word. Team owner John Henry met with him after the reported incident, and president Sam Kennedy touted the club’s zero tolerance policy. In an effort to promote tolerance, Fenway Park ushers will wear “kind and “respectful” pins for the remainder of the season.

Jones told Passan he admires the Red Sox’s proactivity.

“For them to step up and intervene and show their appreciation for how I go out and mind my business and play the game and, knock on wood, try to be good for baseball, black, white or indifferent, they were really appreciative of that, and I was appreciative of them coming to me and getting ahead of it. Boston ain’t the only place it happens. We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen anywhere else.”

Read More: Adam Jones, Curt Schilling,
Red Sox ushers will wear ‘kind’ and ‘respectful’ pins for remainder of season 05.15.17 at 11:22 am ET
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The Red Sox say they're committed to fostering a safe environment at Fenway Park. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox say they’re committed to fostering a safe environment at Fenway Park. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Red Sox ushers are going to look a little different for the rest of the season.

This past home stand against the Rays, Fenway Park staff members wore “kind” and “respectful” pins. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, they’ll be sporting them for all future home games as well.

The decision to have Red Sox security personnel wear the pins comes on the heels of two reported racial incidents at the ballpark. Two weeks ago, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones said the N-word was directed at him a “handful” of times. One night later, the Red Sox banned a fan for life for directing a racial epithet towards another person in the stands.

In an interview last week on WEEI’s “Two Outs” podcast, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said the team is committed to enforcing its zero tolerance policy against hateful language at Fenway Park.

“I don’t worry about it being a slippery slope. It’s the club’s right. We plan on doing it,” he said. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to make sure people who come to Fenway Park, regardless of your religion, your race, your sexual orientation, you feel comfortable at Fenway. That is our job. We need to be held accountable for that. That’s something that’s really important to John Henry, Tom Werner and to me and to the members of our front office. We want our fans to let us know if they feel uncomfortable. Nobody should feel intimidated by coming to a baseball game at Fenway Park. This is a place to come and relax and enjoy and feel comfortable. That’s what I worry about.”

 

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park,
Derek Jeter’s selfishness has been whitewashed from history 05.15.17 at 10:43 am ET
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Derek Jeter's No. 2 took its place in Monument Park Sunday.   (Elsa/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Derek Jeter’s No. 2 took its place in Monument Park Sunday. (Elsa/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s number Sunday, so naturally the entire weekend was dedicated to Jeter hero worship. ESPN ran a full slate of Captain Jeets programming and one couple even got engaged. It was a nauseating sight.

Though Jeter is an overrated player –– he only led the league in an offensive category on nine occasions, six of which were either plate appearances or at-bats –– he’s a surefire Hall of Famer. The incessant lauding of his on-field play, while a bit over-the-top, at least is based in some semblance of reality. After all, the guy won five champions and is No. 6 all-time in hits.

But it’s not just enough to call Jeter one of the greatest shortstops of his generation. He must also be held up as a patron saint of baseball, with scores of sportswriters stumbling over themselves to praise his supposed selflessness. But contrary to popular belief, Jeter was not always the consummate teammate. In fact, his last season was an all-time display in self-aggrandizement.

By the time 2014 rolled around, Jeter’s range as a shortstop was roughly equivalent to a traffic cone. His performance was so bad, he was even denied another fraudulent gold glove award.

Despite his obvious limitations, Jeter started 129 games at shortstop. He also hit at the top of the lineup, batting second in 141 contests. Jeter posted a .617 OPS that year, making him one of the least productive shortstops in baseball.

As the season continued, it became apparent Jeter’s “RE2PECT” tour was more important than the Yankees’ postseason hopes. Every team should slot its best hitter second in the lineup, but yet, the Yankees stuck Jeter’s corpse there 87 percent of the time.

If Jeter were truly a baseball martyr, he would’ve told manager Joe Girardi it was not necessary to bat him at the top of the lineup or play him at shortstop nearly every day. He was dead weight in the second half of the season, batting .217 with a .517 OPS in August and September. Not coincidentally, the Yankees fell out of playoff contention.

But much like when Jeter refused to move to third base to accommodate Alex Rodriguez, a superior defensive player, he put his ego ahead of the club’s. The ultimate team player didn’t want to cut his last summer in the spotlight short.

While that’s not the defining part of Jeter’s legacy, it should be mentioned. But it’s been expunged from history, because it doesn’t fit into the Jeter myth.

That might be a bigger victory than the five World Series rings.

Read More: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees,
David Ortiz takes jab at Theo Epstein in new memoir 05.12.17 at 10:10 am ET
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David Ortiz still seems perturbed about the Red Sox not giving him multiple long-term contracts.   (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz still seems perturbed about the Red Sox not giving him multiple long-term contracts. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

In his soon-to-be released memoir with WEEI’s Michael Holley, David Ortiz saves his sharpest criticism for former manager Bobby Valentine. But he also takes a jab at ex-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, the person who brought him to Boston.

Though the Boston Globe doesn’t run full excerpts in its review of “Papi,” the newspaper picks out several key quotes. In one of them, Ortiz refers to Epstein as that “numbers-crunching Red Sox executive” who stuck him with “some of the worst long-term contracts in baseball.”

The anecdote about Ortiz feeling underpaid is nothing new. He often complained about his contract during his 14 seasons in Boston, with tension hitting a fever pitch in 2010 when he publicly campaigned for a long-term deal. The Red Sox inked Ortiz to a four-year, $52 million contract with a club option for a fifth year in 2006, when he set the franchise’s single-season home run record. Epstein never signed Ortiz to a new deal before he left town at the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.

Though Ortiz was underpaid in comparison to star position players, he was consistently the highest-paid DH in the game. He signed three contracts with the Red Sox after Epstein had left town, including a one-year deal with two club options prior to the 2015 season. Ortiz retired with one year remaining on the deal.

 

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Theo Epstein,
Pedro Martinez says fan who reportedly yelled racial slur at Adam Jones ‘isn’t a true Bostonian’ 05.08.17 at 3:52 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez says he's always felt comfortable at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Pedro Martinez says he’s always felt comfortable at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

In the aftermath of the Adam Jones incident last week, several black baseball players talked about their experiences at Fenway Park. One of the most beloved Red Sox players of all-time, Pedro Martinez, weighed in during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

When asked about Jones’ allegation that fans yelled the N-word at him a “handful” of times, Martinez said he was surprised to hear the news.

“Fenway [is] a place where I feel more comfortable than any other place, more than my own house,” he said. “Honestly, I could take a nap in centerfield and feel that I am right at home, so it shocks me a great deal that Adam Jones was called something like that at my field. I don’t think that is someone who belongs at Fenway, at my field. He is not a true Bostonian. The true Bostonians support their people, regardless of who they are, and they are great people and I’m proud of my Bostonians. I’m extremely shocked that someone used Fenway Park to offend the feelings of all of us, including Adam Jones.”

Other black players have different perceptions of Fenway. Yankees hurler CC Sabathia, for example, said it’s the only place he’s ever been called the N-word in his professional career. Last week, two fans told WEEI.com they saw Jones get taunted with a racial slur at a game in 2013.

The Red Sox also banned a fan for life last week after he directed a racial slur towards another person in the stands.

Read More: Adam Jones, Boston Red Sox, pedro martinez,
Red Sox explain how they’re enforcing lifetime ban against fan who used racial slur 05.08.17 at 1:51 pm ET
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The Red Sox banned a fan for life from Fenway Park last week. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox banned a fan for life from Fenway Park last week. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Following the Adam Jones incident last week, the Red Sox released a statement touting the team’s zero tolerance policy towards offensive language at Fenway Park. The strict edict was put into practice Wednesday, when club president Sam Kennedy announced a fan had received a lifetime ban for directing a racial slur towards another person in attendance.

In a phone conversation with WEEI.com Monday, Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran answered some of the lingering questions from last week’s events, including how the team plans to enforce the lifetime ban against the fan in question.

“We informed this person verbally and in writing, and we’ve also flagged their credit card from being able to purchase tickets from the organization moving forward,” she said. “Key security personnel are aware of who the individual is. What we’re not doing is posting this person’s picture and name at every gate. That’s not something we’re doing. We know this isn’t a perfect or infallible system. And we recognize that enforcing it will be a difficult thing to do. But if the person is willing to take a risk and come back to the ballpark, there are actions that can be taken if they’re caught.”

Those actions could include calling the police and charging the fan with trespassing.

Freelance writer Calvin Hennick, who reported the fan to security, told the Boston Globe he was at the game with his six-year-old son and father-in-law, both of whom are black. According to Hennick, a “middle-aged white man” leaned over to him and used a racial slur to describe the rendition of the national anthem, which was sung by a Kenyan woman.

When describing the incident to reporters, Kennedy said the team reserves the right to ban any fan “engaging in intolerant behavior,” including homophobic and sexist remarks. While the Red Sox intend to enforce the hardline policy, Curran said the team will also use discretion when appropriate.

“[Zero tolerance] applies to all violations of our code of conduct,” she explained. “That includes forms of hate speech. It’s not just a race issue, and it does apply to a variety of other violations as well. It’s not just the use of certain words. But we’ll evaluate those incidents on a case-by-case basis and determine in each case what the best course of action may be.”

Author’s Note: This post was updated to include information about what actions the Red Sox could take against the banned fan if he returns to Fenway Park. 

Read More: Adam Jones, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park,
Adam Jones was taunted with racial slur at Fenway Park in 2013, two fans say 05.04.17 at 10:33 am ET
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Two fans say Adam Jones was taunted with a racial slur at Fenway Park in 2013. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Two fans say Adam Jones was taunted with a racial slur at Fenway Park in 2013. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was heckled with a racial slur at Fenway Park during a game in 2013, according to two fans who were in attendance.

After the Red Sox blew a ninth inning lead against the Orioles on April 10, 2013, Pat Bowlby says he moved down to the front row of the bleachers near the bullpen for the bottom of the frame. While there, he says he encountered an unruly fan, who shouted the N-word at Jones.

“[Joel] Hanrahan blew the save and then in the bottom of the 9th inning fans were pretty unruly –– because it’s Fenway and the save was just blown,” Bowlby told WEEI.com via phone. “And Jones was in center field and a lot of the crowd was dispersed, so basically I was in the front row right near the bullpen. That guy just became really unruly and was directing a lot of hate towards Adam Jones. At first, it just started like, ‘Oh, you suck.’ Then I heard him shout the N-word at him and he was just straight up flipping him off and his buddies were just laughing.”

Bowlby’s friend, Jon Travers, told WEEI.com he told the heckler to “knock it off,” but was ignored. Though Travers says others in the section appeared surprised to hear the racial epithet, nobody else approached the man. He left before the inning was over.

“I was kind of shocked security didn’t intervene, because I’ve seen security intervene for dumber things than this,” Bowlby says.

Following the game that night, Bowlby sent out a string of tweets to Jones, apologizing for the fan’s alleged behavior.

Bowlby also later tweeted out a photo of the person he identified as the one making racial slurs.

Jones responded to Bowlby, saying the taunts “never bother him.”

In addition to the time-stamped tweets, Bowlby provided WEEI.com with a photograph to prove he was at the game in question.

Following the Orioles’ 5-2 victory over the Red Sox Monday, Jones told USA Today a handful of racial epithets and bag of peanuts were hurled in his direction. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome,” he said.

The Red Sox released a statement Tuesday condemning the alleged actions. Team president Sam Kennedy confirmed to WEEI a higher-than-usual 34 people were ejected from the contest, including the peanut thrower. He would not say whether any individuals who called Jones the N-word were removed from the stadium.

Four fans who were seated in the bleachers during Monday’s game told WEEI.com they didn’t hear the N-word shouted in Jones’ direction. The Orioles centerfielder was seen gesturing towards fans in the outfield bleachers at various points in the eighth and ninth innings.

On Wednesday, Kennedy said the Red Sox banned a fan for life after he had directed a racial slur towards another person in the stands prior to Tuesday’s contest. Calvin Hennick, who reported the alleged incident to security, said to the Boston Globe he was at the game with his six-year-old son and father-in-law, both of whom are black. According to Hennick, a “middle-aged white man” leaned over to him and used a racial slur to describe the rendition of the national anthem, which was sung by a Kenyan woman.

“It’s disheartening, saddening, maddening,’’ Kennedy said of the reported incident. “That said, we have to recognize that this exists in our culture, it exists in Boston, and it exists in other cities around the world. It’s not an indictment on Boston and this marketplace, it’s an indictment on the ignorant people and intolerant people who utter these words and say these things and they need to be held accountable.’’

Read More: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park
Red Sox look desperate and weak for targeting Manny Machado 05.03.17 at 5:10 pm ET
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Manny Machado has hit two home runs in two games against the Red Sox. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

Manny Machado has hit two home runs in two games against the Red Sox. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox keep throwing at Manny Machado for no good reason. He has every reason to be enraged.

The Orioles third baseman went on a postgame tirade Tuesday, after Chris Sale whizzed a fastball behind his back in the first inning of the contest. The pitch was an apparent retaliation for Baltimore right-hander Dylan Bundy hitting Mookie Betts on the thigh the previous night.

“[Expletive] [expletive] [expletive]. Coward stuff,” he said. “I mean, that’s stuff that you don’t [expletive] do. But I mean, I’m not on that side. I’m not in that organization. They’re still thinking about that same slide that I did. There was no intention on hurting anybody and I’m still paying, I’m still trying to get hit at. Get thrown at on my [expletive] head. They’re [expletive] throwing everywhere. [Expletive] [expletive].”

The rant only got more pointed from there.

“I’ve lost my respect for that organization, that coaching staff and everyone over there,” he said.

Since Buck Showalter was named manager of the Orioles in 2010, they’ve gone 71-56 against the Red Sox. He’s enjoyed needling his northern neighbors, too, such as when he appeared to jab at the team for its flu epidemic earlier this season.

Tensions between the two clubs boiled onto the field April 21, when Machado spiked Pedroia sliding into second base. Though the contact forced Pedroia to miss six days with a knee injury, he didn’t appear to be upset at Machado, who had contacted him after the incident.

During an interminable 162-game regular season, baseball teams often look for sparks that can carry them through stretches of the schedule. The Red Sox, who are floundering out of the gate with a 14-12 record, seem to have targeted Machado.

Except, since Pedroia doesn’t appear to feel any animus towards him, their efforts are coming across as desperate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, manny machado,
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