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Massarotti: What’s next for Ortiz?

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe throws out an intriguing question about Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and what his next step is after reports surfaced that he tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Here are the questions we all need to ask: Will anything short of a full admission from Ortiz be enough to satisfy those of us who generally are cursed with cynicism? Or is he simply doomed, regardless of what happened, because there are certain things we need to hear?

Fans don’t appreciate being lied to, so there will still be a ton of people who will forever be upset with Big Papi no matter what he does or doesn’t admit to. But fans are also forgiving in nature as long as an athlete is honest and completely upfront with his omission.

Take Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi and to a lesser extent, Bronson Arroyo (who recently admitted to using androstenedione and amphetamines before they were both banned in 2006) for example. All three of those players admitted that they had taken PEDs in the past, apologized for it and immediately showed regret for what they had done. Do you hear any of their names being mentioned with the likes of Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Ortiz or Ramirez? Nope.

If Big Papi comes out and completely admits to what he did, then fans will be less forgiving. Granted, we’re not going to just forget that he ever took PEDs, but we’ll certainly be more forgiving of him when we throw stones at the players who did cheat.

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Scout: ‘Ortiz’s is older than his reported age.’

Here’s a shock: David Ortiz might be older than what it says on his birth certificate.

“The chances of his birth certificate being accurate are zero,” the scout said. “That’s both birth certificates. Remember, he was David Arias [when he played in the minor leagues for] Seattle.”

From 2004-07, Ortiz did things rarely seen on a baseball field. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is one of five players in MLB history to have four or more consecutive seasons of 35 or more home runs, 115 or more RBIs and a slugging percentage of .600 or better. The other players to pull off that feat are Babe Ruth (1926-32), Jimmie Foxx (1932-36), Sammy Sosa (1998-2001) and Albert Pujols (2003-06).

Ruth’s power left him quickly, and he went from 34 homers in 1933 to 22 in ’34 and just six in his final season of 1935. But he was 40 years old when his career ended. Ortiz is just 33. Unless you believe his birth certificate is incorrect, which some people do.

A better comparison with Ortiz is Foxx. His career hit a wall at age 34, when he only hit eight home runs after 14 straight seasons of double-digit homers. Foxx’s demise is attributed largely to a sinus problem and alcohol abuse, though.

When it comes to Ortiz’s struggles this season, some believe the former slugger can’t hit without Manny protecting him in the lineup. Some believe that he’s off the juice. Some believe he’s still hurt. Some believe that he has lacked confidence and is just in a massive funk.

Chances are, Ortiz’s issues come from a combination of a couple of the aforementioned reasons, if not all of them.

But if you want to believe that his struggles are linked to him getting off the juice, there are some factors that support your theory, the biggest of which is that there’s a list out there with 100-plus names written on it of players who tested positive for PEDs. Is Ortiz’s name on that list? Who knows, but until that list is released (if it ever is), all of the Ortiz-steroid talk is just speculation.

It’s not a stretch to believe, however, that Ortiz started using PEDs around the time he got to Boston in 2003. As the article notes, his most productive seasons came from 2004 through 2007. Last year he battled a variety of injuries and at some point, he could have gotten off PEDs and now his body is aging rapidly. With that, he’s not able to have the same success on the field and pitchers have figured out (quite easily I might add) how to pitch to him.

Again though, this is all just speculation. As of now, there is no proof that Ortiz ever used PEDs and maybe he is just getting old and the game is passing him by. And if he is older than what his birth certificate says, who knows how much older he truly is.

The mystery continues.

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