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Dan Shaughnessy essentially accuses David Ortiz of taking PEDs

May 9, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

dan shaughnessy

David Ortiz is off to an great start. So of course he must be cheating. At least that’s Dan Shaugnessy’s thought process:

I went to Ortiz Tuesday afternoon in the Sox clubhouse and put some hard questions to him. I told him he looks dirty.

Did he hear the fans in Toronto chanting, “Steroids!’’?

“No, not really,” said Ortiz. “Why?’’

Because what you are doing looks too good to be true.

“They test me all the time,” he said. “They make you pee and they test your blood, too. This year I would say I’ve probably been tested five times, peeing. Blood, just once. That was in spring training. They don’t warn you. They just show up.’’

What it is like to be suspected?

“I don’t think I have been,” he said. “Nobody comes to me and tells me, ‘They suspect you are using steroids.’ ’’

Shaugnessy’s evidence: Ortiz is Dominican. he was injured last year. He’s hitting well now. Ten years ago he tested positive for PEDs. Oh, and this gem when Ortiz asked if he’s not supposed to hit better when he is healthy than when he was injured:

No, but the rest of us don’t get better when we get older. I could touch the rim when I played basketball in high school. I’m not out there throwing down dunks today.

Well, what else do you need to hear? I mean, c’mon, no one in the history of baseball has ever hit .381 through 16 games. He’s basically breaking the laws of physics and bending the space-time continuum.

Of course Ortiz is tested just like every other player in Major League Baseball. Since the positive test in 2003 he has not tested positive. If Shaugnessy thinks that, despite this, Ortiz is dirty, he should have something better than “great hitter is off to a hot start.” Or he should explain why he has no faith in the drug testing system. But he has neither. He just took the laziest and most incendiary tack he could think of and ran with it.

Not that we should be surprised. This makes at least the tenth time — maybe the 100th time, I’ve lost count — since a blogger named Jerod Morris was pilloried by the print media for even suggesting that Raul Ibanez‘s hot start in 2009 was, potentially, a result of PED use that a member of the print media has done the same damn thing. No one cares when it’s a credentialed member of the media, though. They’re allowed to hurl as many irresponsible allegations as they’d like because, hell, I dunno. Because they could touch the rim when they played basketball or something.

  1. byjiminy - May 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    From your description, Craig, you make it seem like the piece is a hatchet job. But that quote you excerpted is not the conclusion; it’s the lead. Then he lets Ortiz answer, at great length. And, surprisingly, he gives him the last word. Actually he gives Ortiz the last five paragraphs. So he does raise the accusation, but he doesn’t draw a conclusion; he concludes with Ortiz’s self-defense.

    It is indeed hypocritical to pillory one person for speculating about steroids and give others a free pass. But personally, I do have a different standard when the accused is a known user. I do think people like Ortiz and A-Rod have lost the benefit of the doubt and are fair game for speculation.

    And again, just speculating, I think the chances that Ortiz is using PEDs are quite realistic. I think that of any player! But even more for aging former users having late-career resurgences.

    An article just airing veiled accusations is pointless and disgusting. I have no interest in reading other people’s suspicions without evidence. I can make those up myself.

    Hearing Ortiz respond to those accusations, though, I found interesting. That, I consider news.

    I must add, though, that I still think Shaughnessy is a prick. And the insinuations in his lead are a bit gross.

    But it’s not just the typical veiled accusations while denying they come from him. I hate when people say “some say…” to raise their own sleazy attacks. In this case, though, I can’t deny that he’s actually speaking for me here; I wonder exactly those things myself. So I’m not throwing him under the bus for accurately representing my questions to the man in question and letting him respond.

    Many fans may not have had these suspicions, and now Shaughnessy has planted seeds of doubt, and legitimized them by publishing them in a real, live newspaper. That probably wasn’t fair to Ortiz. But at least he published his complete answer.

    • ryanrockzzz - May 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      That’s typical of all of these NBC sports sites. They always take things out of context and write misleading headlines. I guess i’m just used to it. I actually thought the article didn’t meet the discription also.

    • fanofevilempire - May 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      The Mitchell report clearly states that no Red Sox player has ever used PED’s.

      hehehehhehehehehehehehehehehehhehehehhe

    • madhatternalice - May 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      How to be a bad Journalist:

      Step one: Invent a theory, based on nothing but your own jaded views.
      Step two: Talk to the player about that theory.
      Step three: Find out your theory is wrong, publish the piece anyway.

      How to be a good Journalist:

      Step one: Invent a theory, based somewhere on facts.
      Step two: Take to player about that theory.
      Step three: Find out your theory is wrong, publish something else.

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Excellent job by BY JIMINY.

      I would only add that I was ready to go knee jerk ballistic on Shaughnessy when I first heard about the story. But then I ACTUALLY WENT AND READ IT and it wasn’t nearly as bad as other media outlets had teased it to be.

      In fact, on CSNNE, Shaughnessy makes it clear that part of what prompted him to do this piece is the increasing whispers he has heard, not the least of which, was Toronto fans chanting “STERRR-ROIDS” whenever he came up to bat.

      So his idea was to ask the tough questions TO HIS FACE and then INCLUDE PAPI’s RESPONSES IN THE COLUMN, rather than simply write a theoretical hatchet column based on circumstantial profiling.

      And Shaughnessy added that he thinks Ortiz did very well at explaining the difference between his performance in 2009 and now. And really any GOOD BASEBALL FAN – especially the more cerebral of the Red Sox fans should already understand why Papi is performing well now vs 2009.

      I think the big revelation in that entire piece is that the dude benches 400 every other day. People like to cast Papi as fat and outta shape, despite his having shed considerable weight around the middle prior to last season . . . but the fact is while he may have a few extra LBS, the dude is a bull.

  2. bigharold - May 9, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Boy this is going to do a lot for CHB’s popularity in Boston.

  3. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Dear Craig and or anyone else out there, go find us the greatest 100 game min. stretch by a hitter 36 years and older. What’s the highest wRC+ for a 100 game sample by a player of Ortiz’s age? If you can find any player not named Barry Bonds who has performed at this high a level for this large a sample in the history of recorded baseball I’ll give Ortiz the benefit of the doubt.

    If your results are that Ortiz and Bonds are light-years ahead of any other 36-37 year old hitter, you should have your head examined for not seeing the obvious.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Davis Ortiz over his last 100 games has a wRC+ that is pushing 180. Miggy’s triple Crown, MVP season last year produced a 166.

      So basically David Ortiz getting older with injury at 37 years old… has been BETTER than Miggy or Anyone in baseball by a significant margin, and people are getting bent outta shape that the obvious is being asked? Producing at a level never seen in baseballs long history by someone of his age, admitted user and still you have wannabe lawyers rushing to defend his case.

      You people are amazing at the lengths you go to find a reason not to see the truth.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      If you can find any player not named Barry Bonds who has performed at this high a level for this large a sample in the history of recorded baseball I’ll give Ortiz the benefit of the doubt.

      I’m not sure how to do the wOBA to wRC+ version, but I can do wOBA:

      David Ortiz in ’12: 0.425
      Babe Ruth in ’32: 0.501 (age 37) – 457 AB
      Ted Williams in ’57: 0.569 (age 38) – 420 AB
      Hank Aaron in ’71: 0.466 (age 37) – 495 AB

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        wOBA doesn’t translate, and you have guys who were BB machines. But what you’re saying is at 37 Ortiz is now among the Greatest Hitters of ALL TIME. I’d like to think that is proof enough that Ortiz is cheating yet again. Unless you really do think Ortiz is right there with Ruth, Ted Williams (LMFAO) and Hank Aaron….

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        What do you mean it doesn’t translate? It doesn’t take into account park factors, but that’s not enough to make up the huge difference between him and Ruth/Williams

        But what you’re saying is at 37 Ortiz is now among the Greatest Hitters of ALL TIME

        No, actually I’m not. I’m responding to your claim to find ANYONE not named Bonds who put up those numbers at that age. I found you three in about 5 min of research and math.

  4. modellforprez - May 9, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    ahh ha¡ guilty dirtbag

  5. normcash - May 9, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Again—use the NHL system where the officials in Toronto make the decision, not the refs
    who made the original call.

  6. banggbiskit - May 10, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    So wait, let me get this straight….David Ortiz had a head the size of a beachball in 2004 and 2007 (if you google David Arias Twins you can see his baseball card, looking like a twig, before he joined Boston) and was hitting the ball 500 feet at the highest levels of the game.

    Now, he’s on a team that will finish this season barely .500 (starting to fall apart after that hot start) and he looks like a twig again, he looks quicker at the plate and much more nimble and NOW is when people are suggesting steroids?

    NOW? Not in 2004 or 2007?

    Really?

  7. theskinsman - May 10, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    What a bunch of tools. The guy has a hot month,he’s cheating. NEVER tested dirty.NEVER.
    It’s not like he had a sudden ,inexplicable bone break. Must be the dirt under short in Yankee stadium is harder than other parks?

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