This guest post was submitted by Anthony Fisher, who you can find on Twitter: @anthonylfisher

David Ortiz is currently putting together one of the most impressive offensive World Series performances of all-time. Going into Game 6 of the 2013 Fall Classic, he is batting .733, and even when he was batting .091 through the ALDS and ALCS, he had three monstrous game-changing home runs that added to his already deserved legend as a postseason beast with a flair for the dramatic. He also enjoys a reputation for being a classy, cuddly teddy-bear, a real team-first guy. That part is less deserved.

While even a Yankee fan like myself can tip my hat and call Big Papi “my daddy” based on what he does at the plate, it shouldn’t take a Yankee fan to point out the “other David Ortiz.” The one who never misses an opportunity to show up an opponent, Barry Bonds-style. The one with a tremendously thin skin and a violent temper. The one who tested positive for PEDs, then gave a squirmy, mealy-mouthed press conference denying the results of said test. The one who trained with a known steroid dealer. The one who is constantly complaining about his contract, and is seemingly obsessed with his stats. The one who never misses an opportunity to promote himself. The one who described Boston as “becoming the sh*thole it used to be” a few months before declaring it “our fu*king city.”

Sure, you can dismiss this post out of hand as the sour grapes of a Yankee fan sitting on the sidelines of October. But you’d only be half-right. I am taking nothing away from Ortiz’s on-field accomplishments, I am merely poking holes in the myth of Saint Papi*. The Boston sports media is tough, but they are unabashed homers, and they’ve carried Ortiz’s bags for more than a decade, while the national sports media has followed suit.

If David Ortiz were a Yankee, hell, if he were a Cardinal, he’d probably be one of the most loathed players in the league.

Exhibit A: Nobody loves watching a David Ortiz home run more than David Ortiz.

Maybe it’s because he’s played 87% of his games at DH, but he sure seems to to enjoy milking every second he gets in between the lines.

David Ortiz Staring NoMaas Yankees

Ortiz apologists will declare that this as just “Papi being Papi,” which is all fine and good, but when Barry Bonds did it, he was (correctly) reviled as classless and narcissistic.

Exhibit B: Bat flips “just Papi’s style.”

Yankee manager Joe Girardi took exception to this choreographed home run bat flip in 2011:

david ortiz batflip NoMaas

Ortiz defended it as “just Papi’s style,” and instructed Girardi to “take it like a man.

Baseball is big on “unwritten rules,” and showing up a pitcher with excessive showboating is generally accepted as cause for getting a little brushback in retaliation. So when CC Sabathia hit Ortiz the next night, Ortiz didn’t “take it like a man,” rather he lashed out at the media for pointing out that over 9 seasons (160 games) no Yankee pitcher had EVER hit him before.

For a one-dimensional baseball player with a fondness for referring to himself in the 3rd person, he sure has a thin skin when it comes to the inside pitch.

Exhibit C: Steh-roids

In the summer of 2009, Ortiz (and longtime teammate Manny Ramirez) were revealed to have tested positive for PEDs in a 2003 league-wide drug test (the very same year Ortiz emerged from obscurity to become one of the most feared hitters in the game). The test was supposed to be anonymous, a blind survey which would trigger league-wide PED testing if 5% of players tested positive. All MLB players knew this test was coming, yet 104 still tested positive. One can only assume that these players were either the dumbest (Manny Ramirez) or most arrogant (Alex Rodriguez) cheaters of the “steroid era.” David Ortiz was on this list.

After his name was leaked, Ortiz stonewalled the media for a full week, then appeared in a long, awkward, gruesomely insincere press conference seated beside union hack Michael Weiner. In this presser, Weiner offered the only card he had, which was that 8 of the players on the list tested positive for substances that hadn’t been banned in 2003 (i.e. HCG, banned in 2008 or Androstenedione, banned in 2005). Ortiz denied that he ever “buys steroids or takes steroids,” and blamed his positive test on “legal, over-the-counter supplements from the Dominican Republic.”

Just a few days later, Jared Remy (son of Red Sox icon Jerry Remy, now accused of savagely murdering his girlfriend after years of abuse) was unceremoniously relieved of his duties as a Fenway Park security guard after being heard having a frank discussion about steroid use with Ortiz’s personal assistant. This wouldn’t hold up in court, but it sure bears the hallmark of a “see no evil” scenario.

Frankly, it’s hard to believe Red Sox executive George Mitchell didn’t think to look into this guy (photo below) hanging around the Red Sox locker room when compiling his famous Mitchell Report, the 2007 report that outed dozens of PED users (but no Red Sox of any note) based mostly on the testimony of two prison-bound former clubhouse attendants.

jaredremy
Real picture of Jared Remy

Ortiz also trained with Angel Presinal, whose clients include outed PED users Juan Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, and yes Alex Rodriguez. Presinal was banned by baseball after getting caught with a bag of steroids, but Ortiz still loves him.

Red Sox fans, when they’re rarely willing to acknowledge the evidence of PED use among some of their own, will say “it was the steroid era, every one did it,” but they were singing a different tune for many years before. They were chanting “steh-roids” at Jose Canseco in the 80s, Jason Giambi in the 90s, and were ecstatically self-righteous after George Mitchell outed a bunch of Yankees in 2007. The “everybody did it” narrative began the moment Ortiz was outed in 2009 and lasted exactly as long as it took for A-Rod to get busted again (this time in the Biogenesis scandal earlier this year).

Honestly, I wouldn’t harp on Ortiz’s PED past at all, if it weren’t for his unconvincing denials (also much like Barry Bonds) and Red Sox Nation’s continued collective delusion that that they are the only organization whose players become pure saints as soon as they put on the uniform. To their credit, it isn’t just Yankee players whose PED use they harp on — the Fenway faithful made fools of themselves chanting “steh-roids” at Jhonny Peralta (another Biogenesis client) during this year’s ALCS.

Exhibit D: He’s constantly bitching about his contract.

In 2012, he described his $14.5 million contract as “humiliating.” Admittedly, this is fairly small potatoes, but remains relevant when it comes to Ortiz’s narcissism/martyr-complex.

Exhibit E: He’s obsessed with his own stats.

What could be less “team-first” than angrily busting in on your beleaguered manager’s post-game presser to whine about an official scorer’s decision to take away an RBI?

Exhibit F: His violent temper.

Couldn’t find the circa-2004 video of Ortiz throwing a handful of bats at an umpire, but some record survives:

The Red Sox were awaiting word yesterday from Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson on the fate of slugger David Ortiz in the aftermath of Friday night’s ejection, which climaxed with Ortiz throwing two bats out of the dugout, narrowly missing two umpires.

Mr. Team-First could also care less if his teammates get hit in the face with shrapnel from an inanimate object he’s obliterating to show just how angry he is about an umpire’s strike zone:

Exhibit G: He’s a “warrior” and the “heart and soul of the team,” just ask him.

“Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king.”

The warrior:

“I don’t think I’m going to have a worse year than ’09 and I came out of it,” Ortiz said. “That’s the one thing I look at and the one thing I tell myself, ‘If you survive through that, you’re a warrior.’ A lot of things went down that year. Things I had nothing to do with. It was somebody was trying to hurt me.

The heart and soul:

“… As a player, the game runs through my veins. In the 10 years I have played in Boston, I have been the heart and soul of the organization and not a second has gone by in which David Ortiz, able to go on the field to do what he knows best, he stayed seated instead.”

Exhibit H: His love for Boston is fickle.

In 2013, he declared Boston “our fu*king city,” but in 2012 he described it as “the sh*thole it used to be.

Take this with as many grains of salt as you can stomach, call me a bitter Yankee fan (which would be inaccurate, as I have a grudging respect for the 2013 Red Sox, particularly their hard-charging diminutive second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and am kind of ok with my favorite team missing the playoffs for only the 2nd time in 19 seasons), but please, spare me the narrative that Ortiz is a “character guy.” That is, unless you’re willing to excuse the rest of MLB’s poseurs, bat-flippers, PED users, and self-aggrandizing crybabies.

Put another way, imagine an alternate universe where the evidence laid out above was attributed to this guy:

David Ortiz Yankees NoMaas

Would he still be a “great guy?”