For years, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has defended himself from rumors about performance-enhancing drug usage. This week, he went slightly further to prove he was clean, responding strongly to suggestions that he isn't held to the same standards as others involved in PED scandals.
It all started when Red Sox pitcher John Lackey and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter got in a war of words Saturday regarding the Orioles' Nelson Cruz, who was suspended 50 games last year after MLB ruled he took a banned substance.
When discussing the dust-up Monday, MLB Network analyst Joe Magrane apparently said Ortiz received a "free pass" after a 2009 New York Times report identified him as testing positive for PEDs in 2003, per Steve Silva of The Boston Globe.
Ortiz shared his thoughts on Magrane's comments with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com:
In this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he's saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof.
It's easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, "Yes, you did this, you did that." My [expletive], I call straight-up bull. Let me tell you. You don't get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don't get no free pass. That free-pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].
Ortiz has repeatedly denied the Times' 2009 report, but his name has been tossed around by analysts since it surfaced.
Meanwhile, Cruz is now the American League's starting designated hitter in the 2014 All-Star Game. Though he might not have received a free pass, he is making the most of his return.
Ortiz wasn't done there, though.
"What pisses me off is the whole thing about, why does my name got to be mentioned in that? What did I have to do with that? ... It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn't say anything about me," he said.
Dan Dakich of ESPN provides his thoughts on Ortiz's comments:
Of course David Ortiz got and continues to get a media "free pass"..read his quotes..what the heck does he say? He got the freeist of passes— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) July 8, 2014
Though he's up in arms about the comments, Ortiz has been putting together another strong year. While his batting average sits at .259, he has hit 19 home runs, has 55 RBI and holds a .360 on-base percentage.
As for his team, the Sox haven't had the same success as last season and currently sit in the cellar of the AL East. They are looking up at the division-leading Orioles from 10 games back, and it remains to be seen if Ortiz's comments will have any effect on the team or bring any added attention.
Maybe an upset Ortiz will help the franchise get refocused and claw its way back into the race.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.