May 5, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) prepares to bat against the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Shaughnessy's Article on Ortiz Wasn't Over The Top But The Reactions To It Were


On Tuesday Dan Shaughnessy got to Fenway Park at 3 pm when the ballpark opened looking for David Ortiz. Ortiz was busy talking with someone else so Shaughnessy moved to a private corner of the room waiting for Papi to finish his conversation. Ortiz came over and Shaughnessy explained that he was uncomfortable asking the questions he was about to ask but wanted to get the straight poop from Ortiz.

During the course of the Q&A Shaughnessy explained that in all fairness he had to ask Ortiz about PEDs. Guys in their late 30s who miss spring training and hit .460 out of the gate immediately get caught in the crosshairs of suspicion. The questions could not have come as a shock to Papi. This is, after all, a guy who tested positive in 2003. Shaughnessy  was doing his job.

The interview concluded cordially. Shaughnessy published the article and the sports world exploded. Shrill comments rained down from the blogosphere. Fans got worked into a lather over the allegations. Site upon site shrieked that Papi was “hurt” and “upset” by the allegations. Duh! They also lashed out at Shaughnessy as an irresponsible journalist. Get a grip group.

Dan Shaughnessy is a pros pro. He’s forgotten more about great sports writing than many of those who pounded him and the story will learn in their lifetime. What was the guy supposed to do, shy away because the questions were uncomfortable or controversial?

During the height of the steroid scandal through the 90s the press was excoriated, branded as co-conspirators along with MLB management as parties to the scandal; an institution  that looked the other way as heads, necks, biceps and batting averages bulged.

The story really wasn’t so much about Shaughnessy’s article as it was the overreaction and hysteria surrounding it.

Shaughnessy’s well-reasoned comments about the specific tenor of his conversation with Ortiz as well as his rationale for covering the story can be found here.

To quote the beginning of Shaughnessy’s article on Ortiz:
“How do you think he does it? I don’t know! What makes him so good?’’
“Pinball Wizard” - Pete Townshend

What do you think? Was Shaughnessy correct covering the story?

Did Dan Shaughnessy Do The Right Thing Covering The David Ortiz PED Story?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Next Red Sox Game View full schedule »
Tuesday, Sep 22 Sep7:05at New York YankeesBuy Tickets

Tags: Boston Red Sox Dan Shaughnessy David Ortiz

  • Paul Prims

    I totally disagree with this Steve. Shaughnessy is a hack. Just doing his job? Can he wait more than 15 games to write an “article?” What about Ortiz’ 0-14 that followed this pile of crap? Is he now cycling off? Look, my issue with this article is that we’ve been down this road a hundred times before with steroids so what is there new to “report?”. And I’m not trying to defend Ortiz here but he’s right: Boston media will damn you no matter what you do. Shaughnessy wasn’t breaking any new ground here so why be a smart ass with this line of questioning then and cover it with “just doing my job?” My issue is I’ve seen too much of this type of thing from this particular columnist in the past and why do we need more of the same? We all know Ortiz probably did something in the past. So go get the 103 names on the list find his name and then you’ll have something to write about. Untilmthen give this topic a rest.

  • John Fahrer

    I agree that a sports journalist should be objective and try to avoid being a homer. But in the case of Shaughnessy, we’ve seen his act enough to know he’s a *%#@-stirrer. This is a guy who published a historically inaccurate book where he cited the Babe Ruth sale as the reason the club had a then-WS drought. The fact that his recalling of the timeline was false in itself alone takes away credibility.

    There is freedom of the press guaranteed in our National Document so Shaughnessy did have every right to publish whatever he wanted, but I personally have read enough of the guy to see him as nothing but a guy who relishes at starting up controversy (remember his pathetic 2010 article where he blamed Sox fans for Damon opting to not accept a trade back? Yeah, fans weren’t supposed to be upset that Damon jumped ship despite giving an interview saying he wouldn’t).

  • stephenepeterson

    The fifth estate is alive and well :)

  • james lombardi

    Shaughnessy is not a good baseball journalist. He does not understand baseball. He does not acknowledge issues of small sample size in making his accusations. He does not cite Ortiz’ line drive rate or BABIP ( which is very high in this small sample and likely to drop to Ortiz’ historical norm.) In other words, there is no real baseball analysis going on; just thoughtless incendiary blarney, the sole purpose of which is to cause controversy and sell papers. This is not journalism, it’s the opposite of journalism. I say this as a Yankees fan. We have our own Shaughnessy in New York. He goes by the name Bill Madden.