Papi don’t preach

Papi don't preachIn a washed-out-white press room in Yankee Stadium (Yes!), David Ortiz faced the media yesterday to say, well, not very much. Not because he was holding back, but because he simply doesn’t know.

But he did deny ever (at least knowingly) taking steroids. Nonetheless:

“I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter. Legal supplements, legal vitamins over the counter. But I never buy steroids or use steroids.’’

Are we to believe him? Why believe him and not give the same benefit of the doubt to Alex Rodriguez? Well, A-Rod is just hard to like, isn’t he? And he also flat-out denied ever taking steroids, then (once he was fingered) said he had taken steroids.

Papi has denied before and after he was caught. I like the symmetry of that. And it appears that being on the list may not mean what we all thought it meant. Michael Weiner, general counsel for the MLB Players Association (sitting next to Ortiz yesterday), criticized the list leaks.

Weiner said that there were substantial scientific questions about the 2003 survey testing and that just because a player’s name is on the list doesn’t mean that player tested positive.

Let’s face it. It’s just much easier to like Papi than A-Rod. He’s not a lout, not a distraction, not locker room poison. So, maybe he took andro without knowing it. Maybe the Dominican Republic pharmaceutical industry is a bit questionable. Then again, maybe the process MLB used in 2003 was questionable. Certainly the way in which these names are coming out is (eventually, after the legal process has run its course, the list will be released in its entirety; but who knows when that’ll be).

The events of the last week are a distraction that appears to be harming the team, which is mired in a 5 game skid. For that distraction, Papi says he is truly sorry:

“This past week has been a really major distraction and I want to apologize to fans, my teammates, our team’s owners and everybody for that situation.”

The team will get past this. The game certainly will. And fans, judged by their response to Papi at Fenway, have already gotten over it.

But my sense is it will linger with Papi for a while. This has been a lousy season for him—then this.

Papi put it well yesterday:

“I’m a guy that people look at not only as the guy that hits the ball. I try to do things the right way. Your reputation, sometimes, when situations like this are going on, people get kind of confused.”

I think the most confused person is David Ortiz.

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