Ortiz, Dice-K, Trade Deadline, Patriots Camp = Insanity

Just another day in Boston sports, huh?

Today is shaping up as more of the same as the fallout continues from yesterday’s revelation in the New York Times, and with the MLB trade deadline. Both events should dominate the discussions today.

First, let’s get to the Ortiz stuff. To be honest, I’m not interested in reading yet another session of moralizing from sports writers. I’ve read it all before. Do we honestly think that Gerry Callahan is going to say anything new in his column today?

Before I list out the articles on Ortiz, I’d like to address this ridiculous notion that now the 2004 and 2007 World Series titles are “tainted.” You’re going to hear that word a lot. The two “T’s” – “tainted” and “tarnished.” If you’re going to make that statement, then I encourage you to look over the rosters of all World Series champions since say, 1996, and try and find a team that hasn’t had someone connected with steroids. The zealots will turn and say that Ortiz and Manny were the superstars, and that’s different than some role player taking them. Maybe, maybe not. Let’s give a hypothetical scenario here, let’s say in a few months it comes out that Dave Roberts took steroids in 2004 (Note – there has never been so much as a whisper saying this, this is just a hypothetical.) Let’s say it helped give him that split-second extra speed that he needed to steal second in game four. That play had as big an impact as any that postseason. So if he were on steroids, that also significantly “taints” the title, even though Roberts was just the fourth outfielder. More so than Ortiz or Ramirez? Perhaps not overall, but in the most crucial moment, yes.

Is this just going to continue? Is the New York Times going to leak another couple names every few weeks, and we can get another round of moralizing. When are we going to realize that the entire era is “tainted?” I agree with those who say people will look back in 50 years and not even give any significance to steroids in this era. I’ll be happy when everyone can just move on.

OK, I’m going to list out the Ortiz articles from this morning, with no comment. You can decide if you want to read them or not. Before you click any of them, though, I suggest you read Michael Gee’s take on the matter. Then you might decide not to read anything else.

Steroids scandal hits home – Bob Hohler

Suffering from ‘roid rage’ – Dan Shaughnessy

Another big hit – Bob Ryan

The clubhouse view is a show of support – Amalie Benjamin

No. 1 gripe: the list – Nick Cafardo

Papi goes the weasel – Gerry Callahan

Steroid taint hits home – Sean McAdam

David Ortiz failed drug test – John Tomase

A big blow to Big Papi’s legacy Rep takes a hit – Steve Buckley

Bronson Arroyo: Bad andro may be cause – Michael Silverman

Teammates standing behind beloved Papi – Tomase

Pop Goes Papi Myth – Jeff Jacobs

How could anyone be ‘blindsided’ by the news? – Jim Donaldson

Does David Ortiz’ News Really Matter To Red Sox Fans? – Rob Bradford

David Ortiz asking a lot from Red Sox fans – Rom Chimelis

Tarnished legacy for Sox and Ortiz – Eric Avidon

Ortiz revelation is not news – Brian MacPherson

There’s nothing tainted about how Papi made us feel – Jon Couture (OK, I do recommend you read this one)

Fans saddened but not shocked about Ortiz’s drug test – Jessica Bartlett

A sad attempt to make sense of the David Ortiz accusation – Dan Lamothe

Red Sox journal: Most fans express support for Ortiz after test report = ProJo

Ortiz steroid controversy creates quagmire for Red Sox, MLB – Steve Krause

Ortiz test rocks Red Sox Nation – Maureen Mullen

Question is, now what? – Steve Solloway

David Ortiz’s fiscal star power threatened – Jay Fitzgerald

Red Sox fans stand by their men – Edward Mason

OK, so I think that’s about it around New England this morning on this topic.

Red Sox

How about that game yesterday?

John Tomase looks at an Ortiz homer saving the day and salvaging a split with the A’s yesterday. Michael Whitmer has Ortiz and the Sox all business yesterday. Ron Chimelis has Ortiz coming through in the clutch yesterday. Alex Speier says this could be a season-changing win for the Sox. Paul Kenyon notes that there was no celebration over what should’ve been a big win. Scott McLaughlin has Ortiz delivering in a big spot for the Sox.

John Powers says that Theo Epstein has never been shy about making a bold move at the deadline.  Sean McAdam says Epstein is still very active in trade talks. Nick Cafardo says that making a move would help the Sox move on. Speier has more on the Sox Pursuit of an Impact Trade today.

Benjamin has the Minor League notebook with a look at first round pick Reymond Fuentes. Bill Burt says that it is time for Dustin Pedroia to take over for the Red Sox.

Tomase’s notebook has John Smoltz still hoping to straighten things out. Whitmer’s notebook has Dice-K trying to put out the fire on his controversy with a statement of his own. Chimelis’ notebook has the Sox interested in San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. Ballou’s notebook has Mike Lowell continuing his hot hitting.  

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper says that Tom Brady, though he didn’t speak a word, was still the talk of camp yesterday. Andy Vogt says that it was business as usual down in Foxboro on the first day of camp. Rich Garven has a “friendlier” Bill Belichick getting things rolling. Hector Longo tries to sum up what he felt was a strange opening day of camp. Ian R. Rapoport has Brady with a slight limp and strange gait at times, but looking good overall. Mark Farinella looks at a soggy opening to camp.

Julian Benbow has Fred Taylor ready to help not just the Patriots in general, but Laurence Maroney specifically if needed. Jennifer Toland has Taylor ready to dispense advice if needed. Karen Guregian has Taylor looking to be a mentor for Maroney.

Mike Lowe has a group of happy campers on hand yesterday. Guregian has the newbies thinking Bill Belichick isn’t really all that bad. Shalise Manza Young has Belichick adapting over the years. Glen Farley says that Michael Vick’s services aren’t needed with the Patriots.

Gasper’s notebook has Belichick complimentary of Michael Vick’s talents on the field. Vogt’s notebook says Belichick was a little coy in talking about Vick.  Rapoport’s notebook also looks at Belichick’s comments on Vick. Young’s Patriots journal has Belichick not giving any hints on Vick. Farinella’s notebook has Belichick passing over comments on the recently reinstated QB.

Media

Chad Finn has a look at NESN’s planned coverage for today’s trade deadline, and a number of other media notes.

Bill Doyle also looks at the coverage and has other items, such as HBO’s boxing documentary and WEEI’s curious press release on the Patriots Monday and Friday programming.

  • Jon

    It would almost be fun, if it wasn’t so painful, to be inside the heads of some of these monkey media hacks when they come up with the ideas to some of these stories. For a decade, these enablers were complicit in deceiving countless baseball fans (who were at one point almost fleeing ballparks until the era began, hence jeopardizing their very industry – convenient) by committing the grave sin of omission: you were there, you saw it, you didn’t report it. Now, for whatever reason, after a decade of ignoring real news, the writers want to tell US what’s important. The media wants to tell YOU how to feel about this situation; if they don’t, they’ll certainly tell you what you WILL do, as if they can somehow see the future even though they failed terrifically at seeing the present only a short time ago.

    So go ahead, Dan Shaughnessy. Please place this new information in a proper perspective. To me, your opinion is worth its weight in shame, of which you clearly have little. OK, Tony Massarotti. YOU tell ME about David Ortiz’ legacy, when you’ve had so much time, so much MORE time (and access, although – (gasp!) – also a financial stake), than everyone else, to get the REAL story. Hey, Rob Bradford. I’m a little hung up on how to react to this. What is it exactly that I am going to do? The sooner I know, the better, so make sure you write that story as quickly as possible. Yeah, get going, man. Thanks. No need to let them edit it: spelling mistakes, incomplete sentences, whatever. Just post it. Oh, YOU’RE the editor? Nice.

    Unfortunately, Michael Felger was right. Our cheaters were better than their cheaters on a couple of occasions. Fortunately, that truth allows us to still enjoy baseball. Myself, I find it easy to presume that at one point or another, all of my favorite players were on something. All my least favorite players were on something, all of the players on my Uncle’s favorite team (Indians) were on something, and all his least favorites (other Sox) too. That way, when the game comes on tonight, I don’t have to be “averting [my] eyes and citing Ortiz’ legend,” even though I “want to say it matters.” I can just watch a ******* baseball game. The other crew, it appears – not exactly. Shaughnessy, Massarotti and Bradford either can’t see things the same way ever again, every time, and need YOU to feel that way too, or they are DAMN sure you already do. And they literally cannot wait to point this out, complete with 40-word sentences and five dollar words. A writer’s job is to write, I know. But don’t I get to find out what he took first before I’m forced to start drawing lines in the sand and summarizing legacies? If he gets popped for Ephedrine, does that still mean that the concept of Big Papi was “a myth”? Should I still be fairly certain that “his entire Red Sox career is a lie”? It just strikes me as funny how important this is to these guys all of a sudden – how important they want US to think it is – now that one of “ours” has been “caught”. They think WE were the one’s “criticizing Dodgers fans for cheering Manny Ramirez”. Actually, that was YOU guys. You just thought it was us because YOU told us it was in the first place. You, and the less-than-one-percenters who call radio stations and represent a grand sum of NOTHING. The rest of us, actually, just kept right on going. Because there were games to watch.

    So, Rob Bradford, does David Ortiz’ news really matter to Red Sox fans?

    I dunno … You tell me.

    • Big Jeff

      (standing and applauding)

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      I might have to start posting here under a new name. Awesome.

    • Mitch

      Tremendous post, Jon. Absolutely tremendous. Take comfort in the fact that the hacks are on their last legs. The internet is a great equalizer, and contains too much information for them to conceal.

      The future belongs to the brutally honest sports reporter…men like Michael Felger who refuse to serve as patsies for the owners and players.

      Theirs are the voices that the intelligent fan will seek out and trust in greater and greater numbers henceforth.

  • Brian

    I was never a fan of Michael Gee’s back in his Herald days but that is by far the best thing he has ever written.

  • Jon

    I’m sorry, that was really long-winded. And I didn’t necessarily mean to pick on those three writers. I read three columns and I was already that pissed.

    Scroll on by, if need be.

    • http://www.patriotsdaily.com Steve Burton

      Jon, my God man, that was great.

    • Jason Coyote

      Agreed. An appropriate rant, Jon.

      I haven’t even started to read the columns yet because I’m afraid I might go postal on someone! LOL

  • Rich

    I know nothing until the Guntfather checks in. Then I will have an opinion.

  • marc

    I frankly don’t care about steroids in baseball. All sports have steroid and HGH problems. Baseball is just continuing to pay the price for the ridiculous level it got to and the silent approval the owners and players union gave it as the phony HR chases brought the game back after the strike.

    I can’t recall agreeing with Felger anytime recently but as he said (maybe loudly and smugly like he says everything but for once also 100% correctly) last night the Ortiz story never really added up. The idea that he went from a marginal major leaguer to Lou Gherig simply because the Sox have a better hitting philosophy than the Twins is pretty laughable. It was a fairy tale but had been told and retold by Ortiz, the Sox organization, and the press so often people accepted it.

    • SJH

      If Felger wasn’t so busy screaming like an offended washerwoman he could have figured out the Ortiz stuff on his own. His “story” makes perfect sense when put into the correct context:

      David Ortiz:
      Minors: 1 HR every 24.71 plate appearances
      Majors: 1 HR every 19.20 plate appearances

      This breaks down as:
      with MIN 1 HR every 29.18 plate appearances
      with BOS 1 HR every 16.83 plate appearances

      Maybe Ortiz was taking PEDs all along and maybe he wasn’t; I don’t know and sure as hell Felger doesn’t either. But Ortiz hit for a lot of power in the minors. His progression as a power hitter in the majors looks pretty typical to me. His HR rate doesn’t prove he was clean, but it also proves nothing about being a washout in Minnesota either.

      • marc

        He went from an OPS of around 800 in his 6 years in Minnesota to OPS of 1000 in his first 5 years in Boston.

        This is essentially jumping from the per plate appearance offensive production of a Jason Varitek in his prime to the per plate appearance production of Ken Griffey Jr in his prime or Frank Thomas in his.

        That jump adds up much more clearly today than it did yesterday morning.

        • SJH

          That “jump” only makes sense if you think he took PEDs even after the 2003 testing.

          The “6 years in Minnesota” part of your statement is pretty misleading; he only had two full seasons in the majors during that time. He kept getting hurt (wrist and knee) trying to play first base on turf, which sapped his power pretty badly. He also kept having fractional seasons there and getting sent down after poor starts.

          His OPS in the minors was .916. His OPS in Boston is 971. Again, not entirely out of the ordinary. As he ages his overall Boston OPS will go down.

          Look, I’m not trying to excuse the guy for taking PEDs, and I’m not saying it’s impossible he took them; I’m merely noting that to say his production in Boston was SOLELY due to PEDs strikes me as incredibly simplistic. His minor league track record was very good and his HR rate there indicated the type of power he’s shown in the majors.

  • Tony

    Jon,

    You nailed it. Awesome post.

    These media hacks knew damn well that all of those titanic homers flying out of ballparks from the mid-90s through the mid-2000s were suspect, but 99.9% never even suggested that anything was amiss. The renewed fan interest in the game was too good for their business afterall.

    Replace “Steroids” with “Spygate”, and the media moralizing is exactly the same. Football writers know damn well that signal stealing, and assorted other forms of “cheating” are commonplace in both college and pro football, yet somehow they were qualified to tell us that the Pats were guilty of a grievous sin and that all of their Lombardi’s are now “tainted”.

    Absolute hypocrites and idiots….most of them are anyway. Some of them still do right by their profession.

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  • late to dinner

    You know….I do care about steroids in baseball. I do care about legacies and how they are presented. I care about honor and integrity. I care about all of it…because I am paying the bill with both my time and money. I fully understand that these guys make their money by being really good at acquiring FAME. Hit a baseball better than anyone else and you become famous. The more fame, the more dollars. Write stories about baseball more people read and talk about than others you get more fame. More fame translates into more opportunities to talk and write about baseball, maybe a radio show, maybe a blog, maybe a tv gig. More fame means more dollars.

    For years the average fan has been telling reporters, commentators and talking heads that we want to know more, we want them to name names, we want the background stories…we want 24 sports news on TV…we want not 1 but two 24 hour sports talk radio stations in Boston…heck we even want blogs with comment sections that discuss how the sports news is presented and why. So as we ask for more those with access (and that is the key word to all of this…access) have pushed back siting …PED use stories are allegations, innuendo, unsubstantiated rumors, we can’t chase them with impunity there will be consequences. We certainly cannot bite the hand that feeds us. I would like a professional with access to give me a non steroid explanation for tendon sheath injuries where the sheath’s are splitting length wise as what happened to Nomar and gain to David Ortiz. Or a non steroid explanation for ripping not one but both Biceps tendons clear off the bone as what happened to Ted Johnson in two successive years. The complicity was there because those with the access needed the players to be successful so they can each garner more fame. Tony Maz writes a book with David Ortiz. Do you think anyone would have cared about Papi’s life if he had not hit 47 Hr’s and helped the sox win a World Series. Likewise would anyone pay to read Maz write about a poor kid from the Dominican who had no fame to mention? Or that David Ortiz would have agreed to the book with Maz had Maz not been known to him with a good reputation for being “one of the inside beatwriters”.

    As a fan you are torn. You want to believe the game is honest so you can enjoy the competition. Then you want to believe the players on the team you cheer for have integrity that resembles your own because you want to live vicariously through them for the moment you are watching the game. Its all about the drama. When you find out the games are not honest and the players have no integrity you feel betrayed. When you find out the people you trusted to keep the game on the up and up were complicit you again feel betrayed. When you find out now that the self proclaimed watchdogs are full of false indignation and self rightousness, you skip denial and betrayal and go straight to anger because if you figured it out 10 years ago why didn’t they. The funny thing is the media is so self absorbed (at some level they are the ultimate creatures of popularity polling…as they write about whatever is big in the current news cycle and then move on) that they do not understand the lack of credibility that exists in their ranks. (Case in point why most New England fans cannot understand why John Tomasse has a job, and why most in the media think what he did was blown way out of proportion and not that big a deal.) They do not understand why alternative news outlets like the internet or blogs or twitter are becoming so successful. Its really simple, like the players who let us down with their selfishness and greed, the media let us down with their complicity and hypocrisy, with their adulation and sycophantic actions. They forgot that all we really want from them are the facts. We can make our own conclusions. Of course when we do, the players, sports league and team management and the media might not like them.

  • Nopointe

    Biggest Red Sox story of the year and THE Red Sox beat writer Joe Haggerty doesn’t have anything?

    Clearly the Ortiz news is fake, only Haggs wasn’t taken in. Haggerty wouldn’t miss a Sox story this huge.

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  • sam

    where was the moral outrage when boston cops were running a steroid ring? keep in mind those were the ones dumb enough to get caught.

  • davel

    Some really interesting points above. Jon’s piece is something of a tour de force.

    However, I’d offer up a slight bit of irony (although it’s probably both a necessary irony and evil here): even as Jon notes that he (along with so many others of us) just wants to watch a ******** game, he does so within the context of a pretty long rejoinder to all the crap that’s already been written.

    I don’t say that to pick on Jon because his post was hella well-written and 100% on the money, but as a lurker of this site I am reminded of something Scott from PD said on the board one day–something about engaging with the media and fan response being part and parcel of his enjoyment level as a fan. If I am paraphrasing incorrectly from memory, I apologize.

    But in cases like this, or like Spygate, or whatever this or that manufactured outrage is, I really think that the optimal response after a day or two’s period of engagement would be complete and utter detachment. Callahan, Mazz, et al, have gone beyond the pale so consistently and irredeemably–from mere fraudulence to unreconstructed irrelevance–that I just can’t have any sympathy for someone who still gets truly and viscerally affected by what they have to say. As a wise man once said, Turn Off the ******* Radios.

    If we’re still deconstructing their pieces in August, I think that’s on us more than it is the authors–if we want to “just watch the ******* game,” then that’s exactly what we ought to turn to when confronted with this junk.

    • Jon

      Totally true. In my own weak defense, the content of the article I was reading was different from the content I was expecting from the headline (another rant-worthy topic) and it put me over the top. Then again, it’s still my own dumb fault; how long have I have been paying attention? I really ought to know to expect nothing, or less.

      Anyway, you’re totally right. If I listened to my own advice, my post is unnecessary, and kinda pointless, which is funny. I was just so pissed! Thank you and everyone else) very much for saying nice things about my blah-blah. And thank you for an actual correct use of the concept of irony, to boot!

  • Boston Dan

    I seriously doubt Torii Hunter is on that list or any other.

    There are others. To dismiss the entire era as dirty and therefore an even playing field is pure homerism and nievete. Yes, every WS winner had multiple users – that is the point. Look at the players on the good teams that didn’t win titles.

  • EC

    At least some things will never change:

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4366608&categoryid=2521705 (Shaughnessy Not shocked by news)

    http://www.boston.com/video/viral_page/?/services/player/bcpid21962023001&bctid=31242645001 (Shaughnessy: News is “devastating”)

  • Boston Dan

    Papi = Brady Anderson without the Red Sox hype machine.

    Is Brady Anderson still regarded as a 50 home run hitter or a cheater?

    That depends if you’re a Homer or not.

    Regular people don’t cheat their way to the top in their industry at the rate that it is done in MLB. There is no honor in cheating.

    That is because they aren’t given the benefit of the doubt by society. Athletes as superheroes and such. Everyone look the other way!

  • Boston Dan

    I can count on one hand the number of journalists, bloggers and fans that said something similar when non-Red Sox players have been named:

    “I would like to address the last portion of this post to Red Sox fans. Two basic points. First, if anyone tries to tell you your pleasure in the memories of the 2004 season should somehow be damaged by today’s report, that person is feeble-minded. Ignore them.”

    The revision of history around here is hilarious and pathetic.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      Do you enjoy being feeble minded and ignored?

  • Butch

    steroids = *yawn*…..bottomline: the Sports Media LOVES THIS STUFF…it makes them feel MORE IMPORTANT, it makes them feel like REAL JOUARNALIST’S as if they are doing us a REAL service now. And I’ve been saying this from the begining. It has nothing to do with being a “homer” because to tell ya the truth I don’t even like the Red Sox (or baseball for that matter)