When it comes to David Ortiz, PED talk should be very, very limited

The career of David Ortiz is now complete. He leaves behind a legacy that includes three World Series titles with the Red Sox -- the first since 1918 -- one of the great slugging resumes in baseball history and a litany of signature moments in the clutch.

Uh oh, here it comes. The peanut gallery is about to start screaming.

STEROIDS!!!!

Yep, there it is.

Hey, Internet Guy who can't help himself: Shut up.

In 2009, a report came out that David Ortiz's sample test from 2003 was one of more than 100 flagged to showing positive for a substance that is now banned. It wasn't banned at the time. The testing that season was to see if a testing system needed to be implemented and the results were supposed to remain confidential. For over 100 players, that remained the case. Yes, your favorite player from that era could have been using and you could have no idea.

Say whatever you want about that season (I personally couldn't care less because the league wasn't yet suspending players). That's fine. Here's the deal, though: Ortiz has now completed 13 seasons since then under MLB's Joint Drug Agreement and not failed a test. Not once. Per Ortiz, he's been tested hundreds of times. Even if he hasn't been tested quite many times, again, it's been thirteen years with zero positive tests.

David Ortiz has been through 13 seasons with clean testing. USATSI

In that time, 52 players have been suspended for PEDs. Five players have been nailed twice and one (hello Jenrry Mejia!) has been caught three times.

David Ortiz has been flagged for a positive sample zero times.

That's fewer than Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Cameron Maybin, Ervin Santana, Dee Gordon, Freddy Galvis and a huge number of other players who aren't attached with a stigma nearly as large as Ortiz's.

To the Ortiz naysayers, why don't you go nuts about Bartolo Colon and/or Melky Cabrera? They were suspended in the midst of playoff races in 2012. Ortiz has never screwed his team over like that.

Remember the Biogenesis scandal? It took down Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and several others. There was zero mention of Ortiz's name anywhere there. If you are one of the people who kick and scream about Ortiz and "steroids," ask yourself if you do the same when you hear mention of Nelson Cruz or Jhonny Peralta. They were caught in the Biogenesis scandal.

There are issues with the Mitchell Report for sure, but there are 87 people mentioned in connection with PEDs in said report and none of them are David Ortiz. We do see names like Kevin Brown, David Justice, Hal Morris, Denny Neagle and a whole host of others who aren't saddled with the name-calling like Ortiz is.

There's the BALCO scandal that pre-dates Ortiz's career, sure, but Jason Giambi was involved there and was eventually pretty widely forgiven by the MLB fans.

Do we need to say it again? Probably not but I'm going to:

David Ortiz has now completed 13 years without having tested positive for any banned substance or being caught up in a scandal like Biogenesis. No former teammates have ever come out and said they know of any illegal activities by Ortiz. No opponents even hint at it. He's either clean or the best doper in the history of sports.

Written above is an utter mountain of factual evidence that Ortiz is clean. What's on the other side? False logic like "well, he's big," meaningless speculation or "he's hitting too many home runs at his age" (NOTE: Look up Hank Aaron's late-30s home run totals). And then something that happened in 2003.

Here's Ortiz on that 2003 test, via the Players Tribune:

No one had ever told me I'd failed any test. Now six years later some documents get leaked and they're saying I'm dirty. I called my agent and asked what was going on. He didn't have any answers for me. I called the MLB Players' Association and they didn't have any answers for me. To this day, nobody has any answers for me. Nobody can tell me what I supposedly tested positive for. They say they legally can't, because the tests were never supposed to be public.

Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me -- love me, hate me. But I'm no bulls----er. I never knowingly took any steroids. If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.

He's right. There will be people who read that and think it's BS. The fact that he's taken test after test for the following 13 years doesn't mean anything to those people, as unbelievably stupid as that sounds. All the names I listed above don't matter, either. It'll continue for the haters. I can say "David Ortiz" and the knee-jerk response from that crowd will still be "steroids!"

It sounds foolish, right? Given everything I laid out above it's wildly foolish, but this is the reality. Everyone is free to remember Ortiz however they wish. If someone chooses to do so in a foolish way, that's his or her decision. I'll let the facts speak for themselves. Thirteen years worth of them.

Great career, Big Papi. It was a joy watching it unfold.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories