Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shocker! David Ortiz blames a New York conspiracy for the leak of his 2003 PED test results

My fact-checking of  David Ortiz's puff piece for the Players' Tribune has led to me finding out some other things on David Ortiz that the media hasn't really picked up on. It turns out that he blames New York for revealing his 2003 PED test failure. Let me explain how I discovered this, but it will have to involve some shameless self-promotion first.

Anyhow, my article got some big traction yesterday in the Twittersphere. My piece was retweeted and favorited by writers from the New York Times (including the writer who broke the story about Ortiz being on the PED list), New York Daily News, and the Sporting News. Then John O'Connell, Bill Simmons' Yankee fan buddy Jacko, linked to my article this morning and blew up my page views!

So this morning, I went to see what the Boston sportswriters were saying about David Ortiz. I clicked on one of the lead stories on, the Boston Globe's all-access website: "David Ortiz Can Craft a Tale, But He Has Trouble Keeping His Facts Straight," by Eric Wilbur. This article also leads the sports page right now, and is the most-read story on the site. And guess what? It extensively mentions me and my article!

Wilbur, like my Red Sox fan friend Paul Francis Sullivan said in his podcast. thinks Ortiz made a big mistake in writing on this PED issue, and explains why. Wilbur talks about me in several places in his article, saying:
The New York-based blog, “Subway Squawkers” may have provincial reasons to aim for the target on Ortiz’s back, but Lisa Swan does raise some valid points while fact checking Ortiz latest story.
Then Wilbur goes into how I found discrepancies between Ortiz's tale of finding out that he tested positive in 2003, and what really happened. He also talks about how I added up Big Papi's testing numbers, and how they don't add up. He also includes some additional numbers that Ortiz has claimed (emphasis added to show the newest info):
Swan also wonders about Ortiz’s claims about the number of times he’s been tested, which if you believe the player, seems to be at about a rate greater than most Americans cut their fingernails. In his written piece, Ortiz claims that he has been tested "more than 80 times" for PEDs since 2004. He also says he has been tested "ten times a season.” As Swan points out, being tested ten times a season would put him at 110 tests, not 80. Adding a bit more confusion to those figures, Ortiz claimed during a press conference on Aug. 8, 2009 to have passed about 15 drug tests since 2004, when MLB established a comprehensive drug-testing program.
So, he was tested only 15 times over five years, but another 65-95 over the next six?
Ortiz also told WEEI’s Rob Bradford last summer that he’s been tested about 40 times since Major League Baseball approved its testing policy. Based on that claim, he’s been tested at least another 40 times in less than a year if we’re to believe his latest estimation of 80. Where is the disconnect here?
Wilbur also links to an interview that Ortiz recently did with Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe, which ran Friday. This interview was also about the PED issue, and it had Ortiz making some rather inflammatory accusations about why his positive test result was revealed in 2003 (emphasis added):
Ortiz suspects he was the victim of a New York-based scheme aimed at diverting attention from doping scandals involving the Yankees. 
The New York media had focused intensely at the time on those scandals, the coverage exemplified by a Times book review that appeared several days before the paper broke its story about Ortiz and Ramirez. 
Under the headline, “Damn Yankees,’’ the author, Tour√©, wrote, “Why do Yankee fans still love the Yanks? The team has embarrassed its supporters by leading the league in steroid scandals — thanks, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez.’’ 
Ortiz smelled a rat. 
“The way [the leak] went down, the only thing I can think of is that it was a setup,’’ he said. “I really think they wanted to do damage to my image so it would be a distraction.’’ 
 Was it the Yankees? 
 “I don’t know, but it was something based in New York,’’ he said. “That’s all I can tell you.’’
Aside from the fact that this is a dopey conspiracy theory (the Giambi story broke in 2004, Pettitte Clemens in 2007, and A-Rod half a season before), Ortiz can't even keep his story straight from what he wrote two days ago in the Players' Tribune. Remember, his (incorrect) story then was that ESPN broke the story. Now it is a New York-based conspiracy (Hohler's Globe article acknowledges, as I pointed out, that it was the New York Times who broke the story.) Which one is it, dude?

And finally, Dan Shaughnessy absolutely eviscerated Ortiz in today's Globe. I had noted in my Squawk that Shaughnessy's actual 2013 interview with Ortiz was very different than how the DH disparagingly described it. So did Shaughnessy. His column is a thing of beauty, with a slew of great points showing why he questioned Ortiz and PED usage, and how he asked Ortiz these questions man to man.

My favorite line was this, though, saying why he thought Ortiz doing that Players' Tribune article was a mistake:

Jeter failed you on this one. A good editor would have discouraged this theme.


The Players' Tribune may have a lot of players as editors and bureau chiefs, but apparently none of them as fact checkers. Maybe "Editor at Large" David Ortiz ought to hire a civilian to check himself.

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