Schilling, Papi on different sides of Bonds debate

The Boston Red Sox are conflicted over the Barry Bonds phenomenon.

David Ortiz isn't convinced the slugger used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, but Curt Schilling has a decidedly different view: Bonds doesn't deserve to break Hank Aaron's home run record.

"I mean, he admitted that he used steroids," Schilling said during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan" show. "I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner [Bud Selig] trying to figure out where to be. It's sad.

"And I don't care that he's black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It's unfortunate … there's good people and bad people. It's unfortunate that it's happening the way it's happening."

While Bonds hasn't exactly plead guilty to all of the sins Schilling lists, he has been judged harshly in the court of public opinion. Big Papi's not so sure, saying Bonds has talent no matter how you look at it.

"To hit the ball, the guy makes it look easy, but it ain't. I don't know how you can have that swing, consistently. I don't know how steroids can do that," Ortiz told the Boston Herald. "There are supposed to be guys using steroids in the game, and there's nobody close to Barry Bonds. What's that mean? He was using the best [stuff]? Know what I'm saying?"

The Red Sox designated hitter told the Herald that no one has proven that Bonds knowingly used steroids or other performance-enhancing substances -- and that even if it were proven, he's not sure it has made a difference.

"I don't look at it like that. I look at it hitting-wise, because I don't know what steroids can do to you as a baseball player. You've still got to swing the bat, man," Ortiz said. "If I ever use steroids, and then I know what the difference can be and I'm using them, I'll tell you, 'Yeah, whatever,' but I don't know what the feelings are when you use the steroids. But I can tell you how it feels to pull yourself together to swing the bat."

In fact, Ortiz isn't 100 percent certain he hasn't taken steroids himself. He told the Herald that when he was a young player in the Dominican Republic, he used to drink protein shakes for sale there. He explained he no longer does so because he can't be sure they don't include banned substances.

"I tell you, I don't know too much about steroids, but I started listening about steroids when they started to bring that [stuff] up, and I started realizing and getting to know a little bit about it," Ortiz told the Herald. "You've got to be careful. ... I used to buy a protein shake in my country. I don't do that any more because they don't have the approval for that here, so I know that, so I'm off of buying things at the GNC back in the Dominican. But it can happen anytime, it can happen. I don't know. I don't know if I drank something in my youth, not knowing it."

Bonds and the Giants are scheduled to visit Fenway Park for a June 15-17 interleague series, and Ortiz told the newspaper that Bonds deserves a warmer welcome than he will probably get from Red Sox Nation.

"He deserves respect," Ortiz told the Herald. "People are not going to give it to him because of all the bad things running around, this and that, but people need to realize. I've heard a lot of different things about Barry Bonds, but people should just admit it -- this guy's a bad [expletive]."

And Ortiz thinks commissioner Bud Selig should commit to being on hand when Bonds breaks Aaron's major league record of 755 home runs.

"He's just making things worse," Ortiz told the Herald. "He's the commissioner, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't be saying that. What are people going to think about the game? They'll be like, 'This game is a joke.' He should come, even if he doesn't want to."

Schilling wants no part of Bonds making history. If Bonds is at home run No. 754 and Schilling is pitching during the Giants' visit to Fenway, he won't be giving the slugger a pitch to hit.

"Not on purpose," he said, according to The Boston Globe. "Hell no. I don't want to be Al Downing," he said, referring to the pitcher who gave up Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run in 1974.

"I'm guessing they're going to try to make sure [the record-breaking home run] happens in San Francisco," Schilling said, according to the Globe.