Here is Sunday’s column from The Herald. After another laughable display by David Ortiz and the MLB players union (oh what, we’re supposed to believe anything you have to say now?), I couldn’t help but wonder how we’d all react to a player on the 2003 steroid list if he were to just come out and say the following:
Of course I did it.
Why wouldn’t I? What exactly should’ve stopped me? Some sense of moral integrity?
Sorry, but my moral integrity revolves around making my family comfortable every day for the rest of our lives.
So yeah, I used it. I know nobody else has put it like this, but it’s the truth, and I can tell you, fans haven’t really heard the truth. But the juice made me the player I never was and probably would’ve never been. Helped me ink that $72 million contract, too.
I read somewhere once, back when I was a kid, about some old pitcher saying that if there was a pill that would guarantee a pitcher would win 20 games in a season but might take five years off his life, that the pitcher would suck down that pill without even blinking — probably because he’d be afraid his teammate would take it if he didn’t.
That’s what it was like. Back in the day, you knew guys were juicing. Remember when Sammy Sosa showed up at spring training with that extra 25 pounds of muscle? Said he worked out a lot. Well, yeah, he lifted and stuff, but he was able to lift and lift and lift and lift because he had help. It’s not natural.
Oh, and don’t think the guys on the bump weren’t doing it either. How many setup guys hit 97 on the gun anymore? Remember when Eric Gagne didn’t give up a hit for like two seasons? See, he was trying to get me out. So what was I supposed to do? Just let him whiff my butt with that juiced up arm of his? No way.
Look, not everybody was doing it. But a lot of guys were. And nobody cared. Fans kept showing up. Writers didn’t have a clue. Owners didn’t mind shelling out all that cash as long as those turnstiles were turning. All those people who thought baseball was dead after that strike, who were afraid baseball would never come back because of the strike? They were thrilled, man. Thrilled. Yeah, the NFL is king, but dude, baseball was cool again. Don’t forget: chicks dig the long ball. And so does everybody else.
It’s like back when Jordan was playing for the Bulls. If you saw Jordan, you wanted to see one thing, right? You wanted to see him dunk. If he didn’t throw one down, you felt like you were robbed of something. That was baseball. Everybody wants to see a big fly. Go to a game and not see a homer? People think that’s boring. And bored fans don’t come back.
But listen, that’s getting too deep into this thing, man. You want to know why we did it, other than the money and the fame and all that stuff?
Because we could.
Nobody said we couldn’t. Nobody said it was against the rules — not that that would’ve mattered. But it wasn’t like anybody was testing us for it. You get that, right? It simply didn’t matter that anybody was juicing. It just didn’t matter.
Am I sorry for it now? Yes. I do feel bad, because looking back, my career was a lie. I don’t care what the new union guy is telling you, I know I’m on that list from 2003. And I know what I tested positive for because I knew all along what I was taking. It wasn’t some stupid supplement from GNC. That’s just the story they’re putting out there. It was a needle in my butt.
So yeah, I’m sorry. I know there are kids out there who think to get to the big leagues they need to take something. I get that. I mean, I did it. And I’m sorry about that. I really am.
But, well, you just have to understand. The juice made me a better ballplayer. There was a lot — A LOT — of money to be made. And I know it helped me play the game longer.
So that’s why I did steroids. That’s the truth. And I can tell you, it’s why a lot of us did steroids, whether any of the guys will tell you that or not.
Maybe one of them will own up to it, too, someday.