While Dan Shaughnessy gets lionized among local media for his David Ortiz column from the other day, especially among sports radio hosts, a few people displaced from the local scene see the column for what it really was: garbage.

The worst baseball writing of the month -Rob Neyer says that the column takes muckraking to a whole different place.

You know what’s really a shame? I mean, aside from the fact that Shaughnessy gets paid a great deal of money to compose this drivel, year after year? He might have spared himself this particular embarrassment if he weren’t so bloody afraid of statistics that his grandpappy didn’t teach him.

And more.

Nowhere in the column does Shaughnessy offer even the tiniest shred of evidence, not one, that Ortiz’s bat speed is higher now than when he was 34. Nothing from an Internet database, no quote from some grizzled (and anonymous) scout. Just the argument that Ortiz’s bat speed must be higher because hey look! .426!

From Deadspin: Dan Shaughnessy Invents Some David Ortiz PED Rumors

Except, this isn’t a column accusing David Ortiz of PED usage. It’s a column about David Ortiz denying accusations of PED usage. Except there are no active accusations, so Shaughnessy has to create them, confront Ortiz with them, and then run his denials. The truly incredible part is that at some point, this logic ran through Shaughnessy’s brain and he decided it would be a good idea for a column.

He concludes:

The Red Sox have been in first place for most of a season in which they’re supposed to finish last. If there’s not enough there for a local sports columnist without having to resort to sorry-I’m-not-sorry defamation after a month, I feel for Dan Shaughnessy’s shriveled black writer’s soul. But Boston’s lost three in a row, seven of 10, and Ortiz is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Shank can happily go back to blasting the team for being bad, which is a lot easier and more straightforward than this tortured bit of “I’m just asking questions.”


30 thoughts on “Unkind Reactions To Shaughnessy Column on Ortiz

    1. Courage?? Embarrassing and laughable.
      Hank, time for some new talking points from Felger.

  1. This story is the equivalent of: “Hey Shaughnessy, do you still beat your wife”?

  2. Bruce….

    I understand disliking Shaughnessy. Lord knows I have taken shots at him many times. So take him out of the equation. Are you suggesting that asking Ortiz about PED use or even suggesting hat Ortiz might be using is bad journalism?

    1. Where is the evidence of PED use??
      This same media was all over Ortiz for not being ready to play when the season began because of the lingering effect of the achilles injury he suffered LAST SUMMER.
      Hmmm, I thought PED’s SPEED UP healing.
      This same media was all over Ortiz for being out of shape when he was ready to play.
      Wouldn’t PED’s help Ortiz get “fit”??
      Ortiz is hitting the ball to left field. PED’s “speed up” bat speed. Hitting to the opposite field means you’re swinging LATE on the ball. Rather contradictory don’t you think??
      Shaughnessy took a sample of SEVENTEEN GAMES, 17 games out of a 162 game schedule, has absolutely zero evidence and threw PED use in “Dominican” David Ortiz’ face.
      The only thing more outrageous than Shaughnessy is the sickening circling of the media wagons around him.
      The Boston media is filled with condescending and judgmental dirtbags.
      Very few likeable souls in that profession.

      1. Well…as I see it there are two different ways of looking at this situation.

        1) Ortiz is clearly not doing PEDs. No evidence has been produced. His Achilles injury last year was a fluke. At 37 he is just in remarkable shape, finally learning how to hit the ball to left field, and putting up numbers that only Raffi Palmiero, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa have been able to achieve at that age. We should discount the fact that he was on the Mitchell Report list of players who failed an MLB supplied test because the substance he was using was not identified and might not have technically been illegal at the time. Because it is Shaughnessey asking the questions we should instantly discount what he is saying and viciously/blindly disagree.


        2) We can look at the circumstantial evidence critically and ask questions. Ortiz has admitted to PED use in the past. He famously gave a press statement where he said he would explain what he took and why he was on the Mitchell Report list by the end of that week. We are still waiting. He made an on the record comment saying growing up in the Dominican he did not know about nutrition so he trusted the “experts” at the academy and took whatever they gave him. He did not ask questions. In 2009 he had a decidedly horrible year. His bat speed was nil. All of a sudden he comes back in 2010 and appears to have over night found the fountain of youth. Then last year he has an Achilles injury that is linked to PED use. He comes back from this injury in a year and then with no training is suddenly tearing up the league at a pace no 37 year old in the history of the league has been able to keep except for a few aforementioned admitted PED users.

        I agree there is no direct evidence of PED use. I agree that Ortiz has not failed a drug test. I agree that Shaughnessey is a horrid, putrid, angry man. But and this is the big BUT, the MLBPA fooled us all once. They circled the wages, told us that PEDs did not help hit the ball…they only helped hit it further..maybe. In reality, they allowed certain players to make a mockery of the game. They also co opted the media that followed baseball both on a national and local level…convincing them that looking the other way was better for all parties involved.

        As I see it the issue is not whether or not Ortiz took, or currently takes PEDs…instead the issue is can Ortiz’s success be questioned? I think there is more than enough circumstantial evidence to say YES. Its not my fault that it was Shaughnessey who happened to be the messenger.

        1. What are you talking about??
          Ortiz is NOT in remarkable shape. Not even close. He actually looks overweight and that’s understandable since he was recovering rather “slowly” (thought PED’s speed up healing?? Hmmm….) from bad wheels and couldn’t work out.
          If Ortiz is on PED’s his bat speed is faster and faster bat speed = PULLING the ball to right not hitting the opposite way to left. Oh this “evidence” is convincing isn’t it??
          And show us all how Ortiz is putting up numbers even remotely close to what Palmiero, Bonds and Sosa did??
          Yup, Ortiz name is on a list from 2003.
          2003. That’s it!! 2003 is ALL Shaughnessy has to write a column in 2013 strongly insinuating Ortiz is using PED’s. Oh wait, the fact that Ortiz is Dominican is further evidence of guilt.
          Oh and by the way Tom Brady’s name was on the rolodex of Barry Bonds trainer. Tom is playing at a remarkably high level for a man his age. In great shape. Recovers very quickly from the physical wear and tear of NFL games.
          Is there any doubt Tom Brady is using PED’s??

          1. Ortiz is in far better shape than you are giving him credit for. Palmiero did not have the “body of a PED user” yet he used and they certainly helped his performance. The numbers Ortiz put up last year as a 36 year old until he was hurt and the ones he put up the first month of this year have only been rivaled by those that I named. The bat speed issue would not mean he would be pulling everything as he used to. Let’s assume he were not on PEDs…maybe he would not even be able to get around to hit it to Left. Have you considered that at 37 the PEDs now allow him to spray the ball and hang on as a viable major league hitter? The Achilles injury is type of injury found in people who use PEDs. But if you want to believe that it is impossible to consider that in this era that Ortiz could not possibly be using PED’s feel free to bury your head in the sand. All I am suggesting is that asking the question is perfectly reasonable. As a matter of fact I would go as far as saying that if you do not ask the question then as a baseball reporter you are not doing your job. Which was the case of the BBWA for too long.

            At this point nothing would surprise me. If I were to find out Brady were on PED’s I would be disappointed but not surprised. I think Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong were the final two for me. I know Tiger has not admitted PED use yet but there is a lot of evidence pointing at him. I think with the amount of money at stake all of these guys…all of them…are tempted. You can make your own value judgement as to whether you think PED’s diminish the game, I am not as that is a conversation for a different day. All that I am arguing is that asking the question is reasonable. Now if you want to argue that Shaughnessey’s approach, bringing up that Ortiz is Dominican for example, was racist…I would not argue with you. Although I do think there is a reasonable way to question the culture of the Dominican baseball academies and how a tiny Island of 10 million people has put a disproportionate amount of players into MLB. Or put it another way, if a third world country like the Dominican can produce so many outstanding baseball players perhaps we in America should spend some time down there looking at their training regimen and duplicate here. However, I think the idea that the questions should not be asked is absurd.

          2. Ortiz has always been heavy. It might have been 2009 when he’d slimmed down and had such a horrible year (but I forget). Baseball and football are two sports where guys can get away with being chubby and still be extremely effective–if you’re a DH or a lineman (respectively). Personally, I don’t much care who in the pros is using PEDs. They’re adults, they know (especially these days) what they’re getting into, and they know the costs of getting caught. And I suspect that steroid/HGH use is very widespread throughout pro sports. You could argue that baseball specifically has featured the blindest player (i.e. union) opposition to testing, so they’ve made their own beds regarding fan suspicions now. But the principle applies to all sports. Football is assumed–because of the size and toughness of the players–to have near-universal player use of PEDs. And this certainly includes positions like QB, where arm strength, stamina and recovery time are very important. And the NBA, where players are highly productive in their mid- to late-thirties far more than they used to be (hard to believe now that Bird retired at age 35 as a broken shell of himself). It wouldn’t surprise (or upset) me at all to learn that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Tom Brady are regular PED users. That said, I think Shaughnessy throwing this in Ortiz’ face now is classic chickenhawk bullying. If Dan were serious about trying to uncover PED use by Papi, would he confront him in the locker room? Is it remotely likely that Ortiz would have said, “Well of course I’m juicing, Dan, how else do you think I could be slugging like this?” Of course not: Dan made a very cheap play for attention, and nothing more. But he’s clever enough to do it by leveraging a very legitimate topic.

        2. He was not on the Mitchell Report list. His name was on the 2003 list that was supposed to be anonymous. The same list that someone leaked out that Manny, Sosa, and A-Rod were on.

  3. I liked the column. Dan essentially transcribed Ortiz’s quotes and got out of the way. Where else will you read how Ortiz feels about the testing process? When Dan approaches athletes in a pseudo 1-on-1 situation, asks questions and gives the readers the answers without snark, that’s him at his best. And I credit Ortiz for answering him…..whining about it the way he has afterwards notwithstanding.

    1. Based on the reactions and comments below, I wonder if Cafardo or someone who doesn’t carry the notoriety that Shaughnessy does would have resulted in a different reaction locally and outside the market.

      Would we do the same if someone here had brought up the Cunningham increase in bulk that led to an article questioning this and it were Borges vs. Howe or Guregian? Is anyone going to touch the Ridley ‘bulk’ issue that Howe mentioned once formal camp opens?

  4. Know I sound like a broken record BUT…been a blue collar worker all my life ( I’m 52 years old) …Work in a male dominated field were sports is always a big topic of conversation. I’m tellin ya, when the boys get together for “water cooler” sports talk, the “steroid issue” NO MATTER WHO it’s about, OR WHAT TEAM they play for, gets nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders…. Steroids? who gives a rat’s ass?….Oh yeah, the sports media!. It’s their, “Woodward & Bernstein’ moment. Their chance to act like, “real journalists”..their chance to act like they do something “Important” other than writing about grown men playing games…*YAWN*

  5. I have no problem whatsoever with Shaughnessy’s column on Ortizi–in fact, I applaud him for acknowledging the elephant in the room by breaking rank from the rest of the water-carrying Boston sports media and jock-sniffing blogosphere.

    Shank was more than fair in his analysis and justified in his opinion. This has become a big deal because Ortiz is an overly sensitive diva, it’s not Shaughnessy.’s doing. It’s his job to generate some controversy and discussion. At least he had the balls to take it directly to Ortiz and gave him the chance to respond beforehand.

    You’d have to be a total homer to not entertain the possibility that Ortiz is on PEDs and has been for some time. The guy has skated more than any other PED-linked MLB player for the past 10 years, so forgive me for not feeling sorry for Ortiz now.

    He’s bringing the scrutiny on himself now through his public overreaction and criticism of Shaughnessy. You’d think Ortiz would be savvy enough with the Boston media and fan base by now to know that this would have gone nowhere had he just ignored it.

  6. So Ortiz passing several spontaneous steroid tests from MLB each and every year for the past 9 years means nothing to Shank? Anyone who doesn’t believe that this Papi attack wasn’t all about “Brand Shaughnessy” is naive. It’s an old trick called ‘start a fire where there isn’t one’; get the fans in a lather and watch those clicks climb. This article was a shameful and piss-poor piece of pseudo-journalism from an increasingly irrelevant local columnist.

  7. I do believe in short order the insufferable, always-angry Shaughnessy will announce his retirement. Toiling as he does in a thankless job at a thankless newspaper, and locked behind a 99-cent paywall, Shaughnessy’s bitterness and rage spews forth from every one of his pores. One hopes and prays that his family and pets are OK; it’s impossible for that amount of accumulated rage to be left at work.

  8. Maybe Shank can explain how less than 30% of all those who
    have tested positive are Dominicans yet his first paragraph is a clear indictment that Ortiz and Dominicans are dirty.

    As for the 2003 “failed” test, all we have is a leaked document
    (that was supposed to be confidential) without real evidence that 1) Ortiz failed a test; and 2) even if he did, no one knows if it was steroids. I agree with several on this site that this is a big “who cares” story that underlies what Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns
    & Money calls the “war on some classes of drugs on some classes of people.”

  9. The Papi Smear continued on Comcast’s 5/11 Baseball Show, with the curly-haired pustule oozing his cheesy goo on fellow panelists Neumie, McAdam and Merloni. Amazingly enough, no chicken or small mammal had its head bitten off in the making of that 3 hour program. It would have made the perfect surreal climax (and today we could be discussing how Life imitates Cliche)… ‘Topic A’ consumed the vast majority of panel discussion, and it is too kind to say that it offered zero in the way of data, insight, argements or steps toward more evolved thinking. In fact, the entire transcript would have have been seen as fossilized rehash had the show aired verbatim three years ago, around the time Manny’s first suspension hit the news. The callers weren’t happy about the Papi Smear: some were angry, most were disgusted; one Dan fan called in with vague praise near the show’s end. To Neumie’s credit (and McAdam’s too, at a few points), unhappy callers escaped without the usual knee jerk, out-of-the-ether counterexample, or the traditional blow back of snickering, mock-attentive nodding, and parting shot of snarky derision for any fan who dares to criticize one or more folks in the local Sox media. That alone is something of a breakthrough. Less encouraging (and perhaps even more amazing), the three higher life forms continue to do a show with this shameless bully. They seemed clueless about the high end potential for a show like this, and only vaguely uncomfortable about the dismal state of it now,
    Memo to Burlington: Having a three hour Saturday morning Baseball Show on cable COULD be a modest but very cool regional treasure. The region is crawling with Sox scribes. Writers like the Herald’s Scott Lauber are peaking now and every bit as good as the Shankman was — twenty regressions ago, when he was still putting out for his paper and earning his first awards as a Boston sportswriter. The two ProJo writers, Tim Britton and Brian MacPherson, consistenly bring fresh insights, with a feel for the right dose of advanced analytics, and they are witty and funny. Is rehashing manufactured controversy — and glorifying the dour guy who dropped a cherry bomb in some unfortunate pair of Red Sox underoos — is that REALLY the best that Comcast Sports can do?

    1. First, I give you credit for watching three hours of Shank.

      I think you answered your own question. Yes, there are sportswriters who could bring fresh insights and analysis to the show, however it would conflict with personal agendas and to quote you “manufactured controversy”.

      Therefore, is it the best Comcast Sports can do. The simple answer is no, however, the real problem may be it is the best they will do.

    2. I used to watch the Baseball Show every weekend. Now I just tune in to see if Shank is on there. If he is, I’m off to waste my time with something else. Sorry CSNNE, but I refuse to watch anything that he’s on.

      I watch these shows because I’m interested in baseball analysis. Not some troll trying to further his own agenda.

  10. My problem with the column is that it doesn’t take a side. A columnist used to pick a side of an argument and write about it. Nowadays it’s all “just saying” articles where they get the chance to take shots and be smug without actually having to take a stand. Man up, and as Herm Edwards says, put your name on it. If he thinks Ortiz is on PED’s than write it, or better yet do some work and prove it. Don’t hide behind “people are saying.” Have the courage to be right or wrong rather than just stirring the pot.

  11. Honestly, I think I speak for some a portion(I hope a large portion but won’t say that without proof) of the New England sports fans when I say Dan Shaughnessy is a POS and wish he would go away. I won’t buy another Boston Globe or pay for anything on Boston.com or NYtime.com just so he doesn’t get anything from myself. If any other columnist like Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan, Steve Buckley, Gordon Edes hell even Ron Borges, Gerry Callaghan, or Kirk Minihane had written that article it would have more creditability. Shaughnessy creates a spectacle on absolutely no evidence just because a 2 week small sample size where David Ortiz has done well and accuses him of PEDs. Shaughnessy thinks because he confronts the guy that makes it okay to publish the article. When the Yankees come into town he better go up to Andy Pettitte and do the same thing he did to Ortiz or else he is just looking to create drama. Ortiz is on the 2003 list and you can have suspicions, but without evidence now this crap has to stop. I am angry because he is getting exactly what he wants which is attention and it disgusts me this guy gets to go on ESPN/MLB Network and revel in the attention he has generated. He is everything that is wrong with the media. The Boston media overall is good/average, but POS like Shaughnessy are what people nationally think our media is like. People in St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago think the Boston media is bad because of guys like Shaughnessy when good columnists like Jackie MacMullan and Bob Ryan(until he retired in July) have to carry the Globe Sports section so POS like Shaughnessy can continue. Sorry for the rant, and continue the good work Bruce and Ryan.

    1. One more thing to show how bad Shaughnessy is. If we could get rid of Shaughnessy from Boston I would watch First Take EVERY DAY for LIFE on DVR.

  12. The comment thread here is interesting, too. LTD takes a number of torpedo hits from the U.S.S. Austin and may be listing to starboard, but he makes a couple of strong points. (1) Nothing would surprise him on the PED front now. [I agree, and I feel for honorable veterans who become terrified they can’t play anymore.] And he concedes (2) the subtext that ‘A lot of Dominicans test positive for PEDs’ — as a platform for confronting Papi with intrusive questions or implicit accusations — to be racist. [Yup, it uses racial profiling to justify low levels of unwarranted harassment, making the writer’s conduct and intentions a legitimate issue.] Before lowering the lifeboats, under withering fire from the pesky Austin (LOL)… LTD falls back on an important principle: If you are a local sportswriter, asking questions beats ‘covering’ the Red Sox with a bag over your head. That principle is unassailably true. And yes, the area Sports Media may have whipped out their head bags en masse at times, rather than face an inconvenient issue. One of those times was the peak Home Run Derby era of the late ’90s, when PED use in pro baseball was hiding in plain sight. Problem is, this worthy principle (and others) can morph into an all purpose straw man defense for all sorts of unwarranted intrusions. That warning label might belong on all modern harassments, many of them based on dubious entitlements and hectoring demands for control or money, our time or our personal information, or someone else’s definition of accountability. The same warning could usefully apply to a range of scary new invasions of privacy at home and at work.

  13. Shaughnessy will announce his retirement soon. No, I have no more ‘evidence’ than he did against Ortiz, but I’m going to end up being way more correct than he was, too.

  14. .
    If Ortiz was batting .426 after 2 months , there’d be questions , but 2 weeks ???
    Shaughnessy smacks of being an angry man , his stories are mostly pedantic , sarcastic and toxic


  15. Writers in Boston suffer for the short mans syndrome. They attempt thru overcompensation to comptete with NY writers. Unlike the sports teams the writers and of course I dont mean all of them, over compensate by misconstruing facts to invent stories like this one on David Ortiz. No credablity!!

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