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A lot of what we do at Sports of Boston relies on big stories during the year. We create the articles so that major topics can be scrutinized, debated, and/or praised. 2009 was no different as there were many major sports stories that garnered tons of local attention, and national attention as well. Last year’s winner was a heartbreaking event that took place September 7, 2008: Tom Brady’s torn ACL injury.
Moving on to 2009, and a very different story — in a different sport — was splattered over newspapers, on TV screens, and even on this very blog on multiple occasions: Major League Baseball’s steroids scandal, specifically involving New York’s Alex Rodriguez, L.A.’s Manny Ramirez, and (gulp) Boston’s David Ortiz.
After denying steroid use for years, Alex Rodriguez later admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs (an “energy-booster“) during a three-year period with the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003. He was forced to come forward with this information after a report cited that A-Rod anonymously tested positive for PEDs in 2003.
To this day, besides Jose Canseco, A-Rod stands as the most popular athlete to ever admit to any sort of steroid use. Many believe A-Rod may not be telling the whole story, and at this point, are we supposed to believe him or any other professional athletes?
It was a rough year for Manny Ramirez. First, he tested positive in early April for performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended for 50 games. Scott Boras initially said Manny had a prescription that triggered the test, but that later proved to be total B.S. Manny was taking a female fertility drug that’s commonly used to mask steroid use. Then, in late July, it was revealed that Manny Ramirez tested positive for steroids in that now-infamous 2003 steroids report. Strangely, nearly a month before Manny’s suspension, Jose Canseco predicted that Manny had been a steroid user in the past. He was absolutely correct.
Ortiz had definitely the most tumultuous season of his career. He started the season in an awful slump, and by early June, Ortiz was hitting .187 with one HR and 20 RBIs for the season. Many, including some of us here at SoB, speculated that Ortiz may have been off steroids and as a result, he fell off the cliff. Then, others felt he was maybe older than he said he was. Also, Ortiz maybe felt the slump was attributed to his dry eyes.
Then, the biggest news story of the year happened. The same day Manny Ramirez was revealed to be apart of the infamous 2003 steroids list, David Ortiz was also named in the report. Ortiz eventually emerged with a MLBPA representative at his side, and told reporters he has never purchased steroids. Again, it’s just hard to believe, but at least one SoB writer feels Ortiz owes no apology.
“It’s the story that just won’t go away. And it may never go away. Baseball’s “Steriods Era” keeps on keepin’ on, as more and more of the league’s superstars are exposed as cheaters, liars, and overall scumbags. In years prior, the scandal seemed to be hitting home in every ballpark but Fenway, but in 2009, the steroids mess finally found its way to Yawkey Way, as the easily loveable David Ortiz was linked to performance enhancing drugs, along with former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, who served a 50-game suspension this year. Whether Boston’s two World Series titles are tainted with this news is a topic surely up for debate, but in the bigger picture, Major League Baseball will never separate itself from this story, forever acting as a black eye on the game that we all grew up on and came to love.” – SoB’s Brian
“Manny had aleady been suspended 50 games for using a banned substance, so hearing his name was no shock. Speculation about Ortiz and steroid use had been going on for years, but we still didn’t want to beleive that our clutch-hitting hero was cheating.
Well it was true. The mystery list of 103 names has been slowly leaked to the public over the past few months, but in Boston, no name was bigger than David Ortiz.” – SoB’s Pete
You know if it’s a national story and makes the Sports of Boston list of the year’s top stories, then it was a big deal…
“Never before have we seen such a radical fall from grace, especially when the guy A) didn’t commit some horrific crime or B) cheat at his sport. The problem is, Woods has set up this image and we all felt he would always live up to that on his way to becoming the greatest athlete of our generation. We’ll forgive him, but never forget.” – SoB’s Jeff
“The magic marketing man that was Tiger Woods had his picture perfect image shattered exists after 14 different women have claimed to have had affairs with the married father of two. Not only has the public’s perception of the world’s most popular golfer suffered, but now the sport will face a challenge in coping with Woods’s planned indefinite leave of absence. Never has sex done as much damage to a sport as it has to golf, which is ironic considering the (false, but widely believed) origin of its name (“Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden).” – SoB’s Erikk
“He had the world watching him and he lived up to expectations, bringing the Patriots to the AFC title. He’s brought two receivers over 1000 yards and had many flashes of greatness. Of course, his season hasn’t been perfect, but it’s relieving to know now that Brady has almost fully recovered and can lead the Patriots through the playoffs once again.” – SoB’s Chris
“It should be Manny and Ortiz steroid scandal, but nothing captivated the Boston sports scene like Tom Brady’s return. Would he be the same? Will they make the playoffs? When will he name his son? All the talk was Brady. Then after a lackluster start, he got going and now New England is looking towards the playoffs, after missing out last season. Brady is back and looks as good as new, which should mean big things down the road.” – SoB’s Teddy
Other Nominees: Kevin Garnett’s injury and return, Bill Belichick’s 4th and 2 decision