On Sunday, Red Sox icon David Ortiz is playing his final home game at Fenway Park. The team has already qualified for the postseason, so this won't be his last game, but this is the team's last chance to honor him without the pressure of the playoffs.
Prior to Sunday's game, at Fenway Park commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference with reporters, during which he was asked about Ortiz's failed performance-enhancing drug test in 2003. Here's what Manfred had to say:
Manfred also reiterating that the reportedly "positive" Ortiz drug test in the 2003 survey test may not have been reliable. Discounts it.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 2, 2016
Ortiz and many others tested positive as part of the league's screening process in 2003, the results of which were supposed to remain confidential, though they were eventually leaked. MLB screened players to determine the extent of PED use, and used that information as the basis to create the current drug policy.
There is zero doubt a double standard applies when it comes to PEDs. If the player is popular, everyone seems to look the other way. Ortiz is one of those players who gets the benefit of the doubt. So was Andy Pettitte. If people don't like the player, like Alex Rodriguez or Barry Bonds, they're vilified.
That double standard apparently extends into MLB's leadership as well. It's not just fans. I have a very hard time thinking Manfred would make a statement about Bonds -- who never failed a PED test, by the way -- similar to what he said about Ortiz.
Fans are free to feel however they want about players with PED ties. When the commissioner and MLB start selectively vilifying players, well, that's a problem. The system doesn't work if they play favorites.