Friday July 31st, 2009

This bites.

In what all parties -- major league officials and players, the media, fans, Trekkies, Angolian monks, Nicole Eggert, my Uncle Marty -- must now acknowledge to be the longest-running, headache-inducing, I-don't-wanna-hear-any-more-about-steroids-or-I'll-move-to-Djibouti-and-become-a-sheep-herder-or-whatever-it-is-one-does-in-Djibouti-to-make-a-decent-living story of all time, yet another superstar ballplayer has turned up on the dirty side of the needle (so to speak).

With one big doozie of a catch. For the first time, the ballplayer turning up dirty is someone we all like.

I'll go one step further. When I see David Ortiz, I want to give him a hug. Not one of those half-hearted mini-hugs, either. I want to wrap my arms around Ortiz's girth and tell the big guy that, hey, I love ya. Keep smilin' and doing what you do!

Try that with Barry Bonds, he spits a wad of tobacco juice in your teeth. Try that with Roger Clemens, he throws a 98-mph heater at your skull. Try that with Eric Gagne, eh, well, who really cares about Eric Gagne?

But Big Papi, well, Big Papi would hug right back. Probably invite me over for dinner with the family. Which is why this bites.

Yes, good readers, for the 500th or so time, a star baseball player has apparently tested positive for a banned substance, thus assuring a nation longing for decency that, for the 500th or so time, the following will happen:

A. The player (in this case, David Ortiz) apologizes for letting down his teammates and fans for something sorta bad that he'd love to explain to you, but that he can't quite explain right now, so he'll just keep talking about how sorry he is to not explain the unexplainable which, he assures you, he can explain.

B. At long last, the player (in this case, David Ortiz) explains to you that, in 2003, he tore the fingernail on his left index finger while opening a can of tuna. He proceeded to take a pain killer that unbeknownst to him contained the banned stimulant, Luislealsdog. Alas, he only used it twice -- and never correctly. "I should have known better," he says. "I feel very, very bad."

C. The media (myself included) mercilessly slams Ortiz as a sham, a liar and a bad dresser. Then, one by one, he calls us all by our first names. Once again, we love him.

D. Commissioner Bud Selig issues a statement. It includes the sentence, "I am shocked and disappointed by this, but I took every possible action."

E. Approximately six (out of 33,871) Red Sox fans boo Ortiz during his first at-bat at Fenway. He later homers, and the six are pelted with bricks and hung from the Green Monster.

F. The media (myself included) state that Ortiz better be telling the truth, because he plays in a big market, and Boston reporters will dig, dig, dig, dig until they find out what's really going on.

G. Investigators discover one of Michael Jackson's llamas locked in Emmanuel Lewis' basement. The media's Ortiz investigation is suspended.

H. The Red Sox win the World Series, with Ortiz belting seven home runs en route to being named MVP. Mayor Thomas Menino calls him, "Boston's favorite son" and names a street Papi Way.

I. Ortiz reports to spring training, 2010. He weighs 150 pounds. "I wanted to get quicker," he says. "It's the new me."

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