FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A baseball player in his late 30s shows up with a sculpted body and puts up numbers unlike any he has had in the last five seasons. In the current environment, what is one of the first things that comes to mind?
Two acronyms: PED or HGH.
David Ortiz, who at 36 was on pace to put up numbers matched by only a dozen players in history at his age, was asked Tuesday if he believes, in the wake of the latest investigations that have alleged Alex Rodriguez among others as having been supplied with HGH, that suspicions increase about him.
“I don’t know,’’ he said. “First of all, when I first heard about that, I start saying obviously, baseball players, we pretty much might be the dumbest athletes of all the sports. Because especially, the history of players doing things like that and later on getting caught.
“We’re talking about six, seven years, probably more going back. So how come in 2011 and 2012 the same players are getting caught in the same situation?
“Everybody’s got their reasons. All I can tell you is I keep working hard and I keep playing my best and I’m not going to be doing this for the rest of my life. At some point, enough is enough. I think that when you work hard, things pay off. I don’t care if people keep having doubts about the things you’re capable of doing, the main thing is if your name is not being mentioned in a situation like that, I think it’s OK.’’
Before his season was cut short by a strained right Achilles tendon, Ortiz posted an OPS of 1.026. In the 20th century, only six players had an OPS at least that high, and all six were Hall of Famers: Henry Aaron, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. In the steroid era and its purported aftermath, Ortiz became the sixth player in the last dozen years to do so, joining Barry Bonds , Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, and Mark McGwire.