Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz lashed out at commentators from the MLB Network who claimed he got a “free pass” in the Biogenesis investigation. Ortiz happened to be watching a conversation on the MLB Network Monday afternoon when he claimed he saw a host assert that the Red Sox designated hitter had received a “free pass” after appearing on a list of players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in 2003.
Interviewed by Boston radio station WEEI, Ortiz snapped:
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].
The entire scenario arose because of comments Red Sox pitcher John Lackey had made regarding Baltimore Orioles star Nelson Cruz. After the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, in which Cruz had three hits off Lackey, including a home run and a double, Lackey indirectly referred to Cruz’s 50-game suspension in 2013 for using PEDs. He said, “I’m not even going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him. There’s things I would like to say but I’m not going to. You guys [in the media] forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
Lackey has no tolerance for players using illegal substances. In 2013, he stated that Alex Rodriguez should not have been allowed to play while he appealed his PED suspension, and he has been a vociferous supporter of longer suspensions for drug users.
Apprised of Lackey’s comments, Orioles manager Buck Showalter retorted, “Sometimes we need to check our own backyard before talking about someone else’s,” in an obvious reference to Lackey’s teammate Ortiz, whose alleged drug use was tied to leaked information from a 2003 survey test.
The Showalter-Lackey contretemps led to the conversation on the MLB Network that ticked off Ortiz. He said, “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? I saw on MLB the guys talking about it, and then they brought my name up, and one of the guys said that I got a free pass on that. It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn’t say anything about me.”
On Sunday, Cruz himself was more relaxed about the comments from Lackey than his manager, saying, “What I care is about my teammates, what they think about me. When you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do. . . . Everybody is free to talk.”
Despite the fallout from his suspension last year, fans voted Cruz into the All-Star Game as a designated hitter this year, as he leads the majors in home runs (28) and RBI (73). He had a dazzling series against the Red Sox, going 8 for 15 in the three games played.