Boston Red Sox Slugger David Ortiz Accused of PED use by Colin Cowherd

Published: Oct 30, 2013 22:15pm EDT
By Lance Rinker, Managing Editor for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Oct 30, 2013 @ 10:15pm EDT


Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and now ESPN radio entertainer Colin Cowherd made the insinuation, or more appropriately the accusation, on his show on Wednesday that Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is using steroids.

“David Ortiz, who was shot two years ago, is now Babe Ruth... That’s a great story. And I don’t want to get in the way of that great story because it will make people really, really mad. … Last time I saw a guy like this it was Barry Bonds. But sports is about storytelling and hero worship and cool nicknames and fanaticism. Fans get mad when you derail that.”

There are a few things inherently flawed in his reasoning behind the accusation but let’s begin with the fact that David Ortiz has not failed a drug test, other than a 2003 alleged positive test that was supposedly for sampling purposes by MLB and was never supposed to be made public, throughout his career and until that happens you can’t say that he is unequivocally on performance enhancers.

Granted, Ortiz blaming vitamins for his positive test results in 2003 seemed more like a cop-out than anything else but again – the results were never meant to be made public. For all we know he has played the game cleanly and by the rules set forth by Major League Baseball since then.

As a former renowned journalist Colin Cowherd knows this and should have known better, but he’s a radio personality now and comments like the ones he made draw listeners – and a lot of them.

Another issue I have with the comments made by Colin is that he even has his facts wrong in regards to the time period in which Ortiz was supposedly “shot”. He says it was two years ago but two years ago, which I would guess he’s referencing 2011, Ortiz had a batting line of .309/.398/.554 and he hit 29 home runs. He put up a 3.9 WAR according to Fangraphs and is very comparable to his 2013 season in which he hit .309/.395/.564 with 30 home runs and a 3.8 WAR. Even if we go back a third year, to 2010, Ortiz ‘only’ hit .270/.370/.529 with 32 home runs and generated 2.4 WAR.

Colin must have been referencing Ortiz’s 2009 season that saw him hit .238/.332/.462 with 28 home runs and produce zero WAR.

Ortiz struggled mightily the first half of that season, batting just .222/.317/.416 and hitting 12 home runs, but he managed to have a better second half by hitting .258/.350/.516 with 16 home runs. Nothing close to the production he was managing the years before and even what has proceeded after but all great baseball players have a down season, and some have more than just one. It’s baseball, that’s just how it is.

He injured his wrist the year before, playing in just 109 games, and his approach at the plate seemed to go out the window. Couple those things with a little bad luck as he had just a .262 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), the lowest of his Red Sox career and lowest since 2001 when he was still with the Minnesota Twins and it’s really not much of a surprise he had such a trying year then.

To claim that the reason why he had one really down year and is now back to his Red Sox career norms is due to performance enhancing drugs is very misleading, and without hard proof you’re simply making outrageous claims to get attention. 


Comments (2)

  • Anonymous   Nov 1, 2013 @ 04:09AM
    Col,in Cowherd is one of the best radio jouirnalists out there. He never tries to avoid controversy as it generates business for him. He is way off base on Papi, Papoi has been consistently a money player who handles exteme situational pressure very handily. My point would be, what kind of PEDs was he taking when playing Detroit in the ACLS? Maybe he took a pill before the Grand Slam. -

  • Anonymous   Oct 31, 2013 @ 12:36AM
    well written -

Lance Rinker
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