David Ortiz doesn’t think it’s an accident four out of the five major leaguers who have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs happen to come from Latin-American countries.
“Let me tell you something. My English is not the best, but I can understand everything. I can read, I can write. And sometimes, I misunderstand things. Think about a guy who can’t really talk or read?” Ortiz said prior to last night’s 8-3 loss to the Tigers. “I’m not making excuses for those guys. But I think they would prefer if someone talked to them (in Spanish) . . . the system is all (expletive). You might think everyone’s got the message, but they don’t.”
Ortiz spoke passionately about the subject, and how he believes Latino players easily walk into danger.
He said it’s not unusual for a Latino ballplayer to go into a GNC store looking for some kind of all-encompassing vitamin to help boost energy, and unwittingly come back with a product on the banned list. Why? Because they don’t read the labels, or can’t read the labels.
Ortiz suggested the union get the Latino players together in the offseason with a translator present so they can fully comprehend the new steroid policy.
“Get together in Puerto Rico, or in the Dominican or Venezuela, call a day, whatever,” Ortiz said. “Have a dinner and say what’s going on.”
One other element bothers the Sox DH with respect to MLB’s policy. He thinks not only the names of the players should be made public, but also the substances for which they’ve tested positive. Ortiz sees a difference between an anabolic steroid user, and someone getting caught with ephedra or andro in their system. The stigma is different.
“Maybe they were using something like ephedra. What is ephedra? It’s something that’s not a steroid. It’s something like caffeine that might get you a little hyper,” Ortiz said. “(How does that compare with) guys going in the back, injecting (expletive) in his butt. But now your name is out there like Canseco’s name.
“They’re basically saying you’re using what (Jose) Canseco did. If they test for all that, they should say what it is,” Ortiz went on. “I think it’s (expletive) the way they do it. You take Andro, it’s not the same (expletive). It’s totally different.”