Several years ago, the New York Times broke the story that 104 players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs as part of a screening process in 2003. MLB and MLBPA agreed to anonymous testing to determine how widespread PED use was in baseball so they could design an appropriate official testing system.
The test results were supposed to remain anonymous, though of course that didn't happen. Among those who tested positive according to New York Times report were Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. The screening results led to the league's first PED testing program, which has grown more and more intense over time.
Ortiz appeared on WEEI sport radio in Boston on Friday, and during the interview he said his test results were leaked because too many Yankeess players were testing positive. He was essentially claiming a regional bias. The New York Times didn't like that several Yankees tested positive, so they leaked a Red Sox player.
Here are Ortiz's comments from the radio interview:
"What was the reason for them to come out with something like that? The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston ... This was just something that leaked out of New York and they had zero explanation about it ... Everybody who got caught, all of them were told what they bought, what they used, everything. But David Ortiz. Nobody came to me after, nobody came to me before. Nobody came to me ever, to tell me that I tested positive for any kind of steroids."
Between the leaking screening results and the infamous Mitchell Report, several Yankees players were connected to PEDs, including Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. A-Rod played for the Yankees when the New York Times story broke, though he was playing for the Rangers at the time of the screening. Ortiz, like many other players who also reportedly testing positive during the screening, never failed a PED test until the league's official testing program.
Back in 2009, Ortiz said he would look into his failed test to determine what happened, but he's yet to provide a follow-up. I have a hard time thinking New York bias played into the reporting, however. I'm not sure there's anything the New York media would love more than finding out several of the city's start players are using PEDs.