Massarotti Chat Deconstructed

Tony Massarotti held a chat on Boston.com today, and there were a few items of interest to come out of the session.

Here’s one noteworthy exchange:

12:42 [Comment From BruschiJersey]
Mazz – you often seem to insult Boston fans, and imply that none of them see the faults of their own teams, why do you despise all of us so much?

12:44 Tony Massarotti:: What? I don’t despise anyone. I believe in open, honest discourse. I don’t believe in being a homer or a blind loyalist as I don’t think that accomplishes anything. The best relationships have some give and take, self-criticisms, etc. Why is everybody so sensitive?

So being a homer or blind loyalist doesn’t accomplish anything, but being a contrarian on everything, and being critical just to stir people up is productive? Help me out here.

As far as being sensitive, this is the guy who complained about how the younger player never “asks about you, the way any grounded person would. He never asks you for a movie tip or restaurant recommendation.”

Later in the chat, he was asked about the steroid issue:

12:13 [Comment From Nick MD]
Is it safe to say that we can now assume that David Ortiz took steriods? He is having the classic steriod breakdown that players have. Thoughts?

12:14 Tony Massarotti:: I don’t think we can “assume” anything until there is a reason to. I am very reluctant to make these sorts of accusations without some definitive proof. That’s why most media people don’t just throw names out there. Too risky.

So wait, the other day he criticizes the Boston fans for having “spent relatively little time wondering about the ramifications” of the steroid era on our players while “in our cozy little cocoon.”

But at the same time, we can’t make assumptions, or accusations, especially against the guy Tony wrote a book with. I see.

And more:

12:55 [Comment From Janice Harwood]
Tony, why isn’t anyone looking deeper into this reported meeting with the Duquette Sox where a doctor may have spoken to players about the advantages of using steroids in front of a consenting front office? Was there any buzz about this practice back then where you were covering the team? And was there any buzz about Manny Ramirez’s activities back in 2002-2008 that could have been reported on?

12:57 Tony Massarotti:: I think we are looking deeper, but it’s hard to prove one person’s word versus another. Merloni has clarified his statements some, saying the team never “promoted” steroids so much as they were aware that use existed. I think we all knew that, but it’s a different matter when a player (or former player) says it. To me, it’s akin to a HS rally on drug use. We KNOW kids are using; we just don’t know which ones.

12:58 Tony Massarotti:: At the time, I can assure you there was no buzz. And if there was something shady about Manny that we knew of, we would have reported it.

12:58 Tony Massarotti:: Still, criticisms of the media during the steroids area are legitimate. We didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem, either, until it was too late. Shame on us.

Wait, is KNOWING (but not really) the same as assuming, or not? I’m confused. So it’s fine to assume in general but not in specifics? How does that work?

He says there was no “buzz” about Manny, yet we’re the suckers for believing that he was clean while here?

The last bit the media not understanding the magnitude of the problem reads good at first glance, but did they not understand it, or did they just ignore it? The guy who reported about seeing all the stuff in Mark McGwire’s locker, Steve Wilstein was villified and treated as an outcast by his media colleagues for what he reported.

“Shame on us” – Not “me,” Nothing saying “I screwed up” but making into a collective act, without personal responsibility.

Still, it’s better than nothing. I doubt however, that we’ll see that kind of admission in a column.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    Bottomline, 99.9% of these media hacks talk in circles. They sway with the wind. Whatever fits their column/agenda for the day they go with…. and if they contradict themselves the next day?…..no problem!….if questioned on it they just give you more doubletalk.

  • Chris

    Look on the bright side: Butch Stearns is invited to none of these little concubines. You know you’re kryptonite when even your sports media brethren despise you.

  • Rick Mc

    I wish those dopes that Felger trolls for will get off the “Ortiz was on ‘roids” meme.
    First, the idiots get the basic premise wrong; there is no spike in his power. He was considered a good power prospect while in the Twins organization and hit for good power numbers with the Twins while being coached away from his strength.
    Second, the mouthbreathers can never explain why Ortiz’s numbers dropped four years into a testing program. Why stop now?

    • sam

      are you afraid your authentic ortiz signed jersey and your rookie cards will be devalued?

      they’re all doing it.

      ortiz has fallen off a cliff and he looks like a deflated balloon. hopefully sometime soon he figures out which masking agent to use or what cocktail won’t show up in testing.

      • Rick Mc

        Brilliant logic.

        1) Where is the unnatural spike in power? Look at his numbers going back to the minors and look at how many PA’s he had.

        2) Why 2008-2009? Under your theory, he had four successful years and then what happened? He stopped using them? They no longer were effective?

        That’s what so good about the Mike Felger mouthbreathers: You can take any fact pattern and twist it to “prove” somebody was doing PEDs. Ortiz was damned either way. He hits well this season and he is on the PED’s coming back from injury. He tanks and he is coming off the PEDS (the reason for which nobody can rationally state).

        Get a clue and learn some logic.

        • sam

          under your theory a player with a lifetime .800 ops with a giant hole in his swing balloons into babe ruth and is impossible to get out for 3-4 years and then falls off a cliff for no apparent reason. all of this happens during the performance enhancing era an era in which almost every other home run hitter has been outed as a user of enhancers.

          grow up.

          he’s only damned if you buy into the morality play of it all. if you just watch the game, take pleasure in the competition, and except that they all have private lives that are most likely incongruous with the myths people create around them then it’s alot easier to not give a crap about what a professional athlete chooses to put into their body.

        • Rick Mc

          Do you bother to look at any of the facts or are you just out to make baseless accusations?

          David Ortiz was a highly considered power prospect. It is no surprise that such a player after leaving an organization that jerked him around and tried to change the way he hit and joining an organization that let him hit had his peak years while entering his prime as a baseball player.

          And nobody can answer this question: why now? Why after five seasons of testing did Ortiz stop?

          And this isn’t some fanboy defense of Ortiz or trying to protect the Red Sox and the sanctity of the game. It is a reasoned defense against this Salem Witch Trial atmosphere of anybody can make an accusation against any player simply by saying “I can tell. Just look at [the set of facts only that support my predetermined narrative].”

        • sam

          that’s a nice nifty set of facts you’ve laid out to fit your predetermined narrative.

          there is no witch trial. a bunch of millionaire meathead athletes take performance enhancers and some of their friends and teamates get accused. no one is getting burned at the stake or hung from a tree in the town square.

          the guy looks cooked, it’s sad. the math is quite simple. if he was on them he needs to go back on, if he never was he needs to start.

        • Rick Mc

          One fact. Give me one fact besides “he used to hit, but now he doesn’t.” And it cannot be speculation, innuendo or circumstantial. So, no “everybody did it” or “He was Manny’s friend.”

        • Classless

          Here’s one fact: He sucked in Minnesota, then goes to Boston where, what do you know, he hooks up with Manny Ramirez and becomes the one of the best power hitters in baseball. Manny leaves, Ortiz promptly sucks. Can’t argue that.

        • Angry Old Bastard

          LOL…yeah, Ortiz could never find a steroid dealer on his own. He needed Manny to get him his roids. Now that Manny is gone, Ortiz’s roid supply has dried up…….sounds like something Felger would come up with

        • Rick Mc

          More wild speculation and innuendo. Did you know that in 2001, David Ortiz had 18 HR’s in 300 AB’s? and an ISO of .240? Or that over he twice hit 30 HR’s in the course of a minor league season by the time he was 23? Or that he was yanked up and down by the Twins and didn’t get consistent playing time until he was in Boston? Or that the Twins at the major league level tried to change the way he hit?

          Being non-tendered does not mean that the player sucks. Sometimes a team makes a mistake. And there are no steroidZ!! in Minnesota.

  • late to dinner

    Another great analysis Bruce. My issue with Maz specifically is not the contrarianism (if that is even a word…if it isn’t someone send it to Stephan Colbert) its the lack of institutional memory that does not allow him to remember which side he was on last week. I guess in the end it comes down to selling papers. For years Bob Ryan has been successful by being consistent, honest and insightful with his readers…on the other hand Dan Shaugnessey has been successful by insulting, antagonizing and disrespecting his readers…Maz seems to have figured out that doing it Shanks way is either easier or more profitable…that is more a reflection on the rubes who still read the Globe than it is on the writer.

  • tonymazz

    Like I said earlier, I am seriously such a loser.

    I hate myself.

  • Steve

    Bruce: There is an underlying message in some of Maz’s answers regarding steroids. The Boston media, supposedly a “tough” bunch, is really soft when it comes to uncovering hard news that may cast a negative light on the organization. Reason being, nobody wants to tick off the team for fear of being an outcast. Because “getting in good” with the team or “drinking the Kool-Aid” is the most effective way for reporters to get scoops or have team officials return their phone calls. I think that should really be the discussion, not whether the media are elitist contrarians (we already know most are) but the agendas that reporters have and which ones are in bed with the team. As for some of Maz’s answers, it’s just Maz being Maz.

    SJ

    • Rick Mc

      Good point, Steve. Cafardo was inflicted on Patriots fans because he was kicked off the Red Sox beat in the mid-’90′s because he reported that Mo Vaughan was drinking a clear liquid in a plastic cup after the Red Sox had gotten rid of beer in the clubhouse.

      • Bullock

        I said it back then and I’ll say it now: Good for the Sox. I hate to play the contrarian on a day when we’re taking Mazz to task, but it’s crap news like “an adult enjoying a single adult beverage” that ought to get you kicked off the beat. That’s not news. That’s stirring the pot. Surely ol’ Eagle Eye Cafardo couldn’t be the only one to see Mo drinking this “clear liquid.” So why was he the only one who reported on it? Nice investigative work, Nick. Woodward and Bernstein would have been proud.

        Oh, and presently, Mazz does ask tough questions, but only when it suits his agenda.

        • Rick Mc

          Not that I disagree, but as I remember it the drinking was something of an issue, which led to the cooler being removed.

  • John Kelley

    I just find it funny that Mazz is telling us in that chat not to assume anything after he wrote an article devaluing the two world series titles because Manny got bagged as Dodger. No hypocrisy there.

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