- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

David Ortiz must have been using a bad batch of steroids, given he is built like a truck driver instead of a Hercules.

He does not have ripples in his frame. He has rolls. There is nothing sleek or chiseled about him.

You think of steroid users and you think of Jose Canseco and Barry Bonds, muscular men who could elicit a cry of pain in mortals with a firm handshake.

You do not think of Ortiz. You imagine his diet consists of hamburgers, hot dogs and fries, washed down with a six-pack of beer. You imagine he has mustard stains on his jersey with specks of relish.

When he steps up to the all-you-can-eat buffet line, it is with three or four plates in tow and a bib the size of a potato sack.

That is what we thought we knew of Ortiz, the lovable lug. Now we know there was a performance-enhancing side to him.

His is the latest name to be leaked from the confidential list of 104 from 2003.

Actually, his name was leaked along with then-teammate Manny Ramirez.

Not that anyone was surprised to learn that Ramirez was on the list. He completed a 50-game suspension this season after he was found to have taken female fertility drugs to become pregnant.

His history-making attempt to become the first impregnated male triggered a positive test result and a massive amount of speculation. Who knew that Ramirez was pushing the limits of science?

With Ortiz, it is different. He is beloved in Boston, revered.

He is hardly the hitter he once was, but Red Sox Nation grants him a pass because of his role in ending the Curse of the Bambino.

Now his feel-good aura is as tainted as all the rest. Now another one of baseball’s dominant storylines of the decade has been exposed as too good to be true.

Ortiz wants to get to the bottom of it because he just does not understand how this can be.

“I am trying to find out what’s going on,” he says. “When I get my stuff together, I’ll let you guys know.”

The positive test result took place in 2003, and here he still does not have his stuff together after six years. Maybe by next year. Or maybe never.

Ortiz professed to be surprised by the revelation, which is no surprise. The guilty are always surprised to learn the veil of secrecy has been lifted.

Two years ago, Ortiz did say he could not vouch for the purity of a protein shake that he used to consume in the Dominican Republic in his younger years.

You know how it goes in the Dominican Republic. You can purchase anything over the counter there: falsified birth records, new identities and apparently steroids.

That quality of plausible deniability is as good as Floyd Landis believing two beers and four shots of whiskey quashed his Tour de France triumph.

This is not the end of it, of course. We have Canseco’s word on it, and his word has been pretty darn solid, whether anyone likes it or not, and most don’t.

As Major League Baseball’s self-appointed czar on performance-enhancing substances, Canseco tells ESPN that the game “is going to have a big, big problem on their hands when they find out they have a Hall of Famer who’s used.”

The drug czar is not naming names. He will leave that dirty work to those doing the leaking.

It just might behoove baseball to release all the names on the list, assuming baseball sees the positive in getting out from under the steroid cloud.

That is the sentiment of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

“Can somebody in baseball - we’re all begging, people - get that stupid list out and move on?” he says.

One way or another - in drip, drip fashion or all at once - the rest of the names on that list are destined to be released.

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