Which is the better strategy when dealing with PED allegations? Yesterday's non-bombshell report that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are on baseball's 2003 positive test list provides a study in public-relations contrasts. Manny, who has refused to address the matter directly since his suspension in May, continues to refuse to address the matter directly.
Ortiz, on the other hand, is working overtime to maintain his nice-guy image, saying, "One, I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.
"Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me -- I will not hide and I will not make excuses."
Is Ortiz digging himself into a hole? Maybe he already has. "I have just been told that the report is true....I am surprised to learn I tested positive" means he wasn't informed of his test results at the time.
But according to acknowledged PED user Paul Lo Duca, "Everybody knows if they were on that list. When you got tested that year...you got told." (Indeed, ESPN reports: "According to the Mitchell report, all players who failed the test in 2003 were notified by September 2004.")
Where does this leave Ortiz? While his statement can technically be true — he didn't say this was the first time he had been notified, and he could still be surprised after all these years — Ortiz doesn't seem the type to hide behind legalese.
But given that Step One in his tripartite mission already contains some dubious assertions, it's hard to believe whatever Ortiz says from this point on will be the unvarnished truth. And he's already committed to saying it. Maybe Manny had the right idea all along.