Back when the news of Manny's positive test in 2003 came to the forefront, I asked "why couldn't it have been Ortiz?", but I must admit that this isn't nearly as satisfying as I thought it would be.
Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who propelled the Boston Red Sox to end an 86-year World Series championship drought and to capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.
First of all, thanks to the lawyers (Yankee fans, presumably) who chose two leak these two (and only these two) names out of the 98 or so that were still under wraps. If only the guy who conducted the Mitchell Report had any connections within the Red Sox organization, you might not have had to risk being held in contempt of court!
I think we can cast aside the notion that Manny's most recent test was an isolated incident. In light of this new information, given how steady his career numbers have been, it's hard to imagine when he was clean. With Ortiz on the other hand, his transition from Minnesota to Boston (in 2003) draws a pretty clear line. Whatever. Here's the fun part....
Hey David, are you ready to taste your own medicine and take a voluntary one year suspension?
"I would suggest everybody get tested, not random, everybody," he said. "You go team by team. You test everybody three, four times a year and that's about it."
And if a player tests positive for steroids?
"Ban 'em for the whole year," the slugger said.
Objectively speaking, there is something pretty despicable about the fact that these guys were told the tests would remain anonymous, and now, one or two at a time they are leaking out like death by 1,000 papercuts. It's not fair, but like Omar Minaya would say, you can't put the cat back in the bottle.
The moral of today's news isn't that the Red Sox Championship is tainted, it's that we now understand the entire sport to be slightly more dirty than we previously assumed. It's not a good thing for the sport to have the accomplishments of the best players of an era systematically knocked down one by one. It's not going to be fun to look back in 10 or 15 years, when what timeframe actually defined the "steroids era" begins to crystalize, and realize that very few of the remarkable accomplishments we saw were as they seemed at the time.
Let's move on.