On a day that David Ortiz will never forget for all the wrong reasons, he managed to take a page out of his clutch hitting history to hit a game winning 3 run home run…he hit it in the 6th inning, but it still turned out to be the winning runs overcoming a 5-3 deficit on the way to a 8-5 win.
Now the bad news which you know by now- David Ortiz tested positive in 2003 for performance enhancing drugs. Despite Theo Epstein’s post game comments in which he said that he was blindsided by this and as much as you love David Ortiz, can you truly be surprised at this news? His home run totals since 2002 have gone from 20 to 31 to 41 to 47 and then a Red Sox record 54 in 2006. Now Ortiz also has had alot more opportunities to hit home runs as his at bats went up from just 412 plus 43 walks to a career high 601 in 2005 with 102 walks which is 248 more chances. Red Sox fans want to believe that Ortiz did not get unnatural help.
Now after today’s game and after Ortiz issued a statement saying that he is going to look into this positive test, he faced the media. 99% of athletes would have snuck out a back door, but Ortiz faced the music. He really had no answers other than to say that he was going to look into it.
It is curious that Ortiz was not told about his positive test until today, by a writer, who found out from a lawyer, 6 years after the fact. 6 years? Do fans really care? I’d say a little, and there are alot of disappointed fans but but most of them share the philosophy of Raiders owner Al Davis when he uttered his now famous saying of “Just win baby”.
Red Sox fans biggest concern is that Ortiz’s production has gone down, from 54 Home Runs in ’06 to 35 home runs in ’07 to just 23 Home Runs in an injury riddled ’08. And the nature of last years injury is the alarming issue. Skeptics say that it is the kind of injury suffered by former steroid users. And then there is this years awful start. His resurgence in the last month and a half has him at 14 Home Runs with the realistic projection of 20-25 Hrs for the season which would be another decidedly down year for Ortiz who just 3 years ago hit 54 Home Runs.
It’s been a day that has Red Sox fans asking alot of questions. I’m sure David Ortiz has a few questions of his own. I’m not sure the answers are going to make anybody feel any better.