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David Ortiz speaks out on Dominican youth steroids use

Good for David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox for speaking out on the record in a piece earlier this week by Gordon Edes in the Boston Globe on the abuse of steroids by Dominican kids desperate to get ahead in baseball. This issue recevied some attention last summer when Steve Fainaru of the Washington Post highlighted the deaths of several Dominican youth who died after injecting themselves with animal steroids, but it is important for the Dominican players who have made it to the Major Leagues to take the lead on this issue. The hypocrisy and confusion in the Majors over the issue of steroids is bad enough with the controversy surrounding big league players, but where the impact of drug use is most tragic is in places like the Dominican Republic, where desperation combined with ignorance produce at best unhealthy kids and at worst, a contuing wave of overdoses and deaths.

Edes refers to new effots by Major League Baseball to begin steroids testing of Dominican signees who play in the Dominican Summer League. While this seems to be an improvement over the decidely ignorant and heartless reaction of MLB officials last summer who were confronted with this growing problem in the DR (to paraphrase an MLB official — “it’s not our problem”), let’s hope that there is also some consistency across the different levels of professional baseball as well as in the different recruiting venues for the majors. It would be good to know that the same rules are being applied to the high priced signees out of the Cape League as well as the bargain basement recruits from the Dominican Summer League, even if the same economic principles are not.

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