David Ortiz takes over for Jim Rice and Dwight Evans this week in the mailbag, and the Pink Hats aren’t exactly thrilled that I didn’t join them in that standing ovation last week. Oh well, we can always make up over a screening of “Still We Believe” while we swap stories about meeting Dennis Drinkwater.
To the ‘bag we go (and, as always, feel free to email away to email@example.com)
Get a clue, most of the fans had no idea Ortiz was outed on that Thursday prior to the A's game. If you go to a game at Fenway you have to be, at minimum, hoofing it in to the park by the time this story broke (some 50 -60 mins prior to the first pitch). Unless Sox management flashed the news on the scoreboard 99% of the folks in the stands new nothing of this until sometime after the game or when they got home. I know writers need a premise for a story but inventing one is not really the way to go.......
A: Got a bunch of email with the same thought. Of course, I also got some email from people AT the game that knew exactly what had happened earlier. I don’t know, in a 2009 world it seems unlikely to me that the word wouldn’t have made its way around the park, but I guess I’ll buy it.
The reason we arent jumping all over Ortiz is because we're waiting for more info.If he comes out with an a-roid type "I was young and stupid" excuse, then we'll deal with it.If it ends up he was taking a supplement that had a legal steroid in it in 2003, thatll be another deal.
All we ask of you in the "media" is to wait for the facts before expecting us to hate a beloved player. We are currently supporting our hero; if he ends up having betrayed us, he will no longer be our hero, ok?
A: And here’s what drives me up a freaking wall. No consistency.
Where was the “waiting for more info” with McGwire? Clemens? Bonds? Manny? Not so much. But when it’s one of your guys (and I know you are a “we” guy, Chris) suddenly we need to practice prudence and calm. Keep in mind that Ortiz himself has known about this result for five years or so, according to the Mitchell Report. I’m sure after the A-Rod report came out you were firing out barely coherent emails to members of the media asking to “wait for the facts”, right? See, this is where you guys get it wrong. My problem isn’t with Ortiz. He’s a grown man that made a mistake and will have to live with the consequences. It’s the pink-hat blindness of Roid Sox (oops – Red Sox) Nation.
And here’s hoping you were born after, say, 1996. Anyone older than 13 years old should never refer to someone they’ve never met as “our hero”. Quasi-stalkish, frankly.
Your article about the fans cheering Ortiz on Thursday was absolutely perfect. What a bunch of hypocrites. Ortiz, as far as baseball production is concerned is just as artificial and inflated as Bonds, McGwire, Manny, Clemens et al..The cult at Fenway is drinking the kool aid in a big way..Ortiz' inflated numbers are so apparent its ridiculous..4x homerun totals since 2003 when he joined the Sox and his steroid buddy Manny..I won't be cheering for this guy for a while..Again great article..
Art from Walpole
A: Hey, these guys (and I mean all of MLB) have earned emails like this one. They have lied and lied and lied. Can you blame anyone who thinks that Ortiz has been juicing for the past six years? Why would he have stopped after 2003? He felt bad about it? Okay, so how does a guy who hit 31 homers on the juice hit 54 clean? And maybe he was clean, but we don’t know. We know nothing. Virtually everyone in MLB has been a disgrace about this issue for the last decade, from Bud Selig to the 25th man on each roster. Which active player is going to step up and become the first guy to call people out? Sadly, that’ll never happen and we know it. Nomar’s bizarre rambling after Thursday’s game is all you need to know about where the players are on this. Not that steroids are a big deal or anything, just the biggest story in baseball since Jackie Robinson.
Just to wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your article about the winner (Yaz) and loser (Fenway fans) regarding the Ortiz saga. It is very hypocritical of the fans to insult other players but sugarcoat the whole Ortiz controversy. Anyways, thanks for the nice read. Have a good day.
A: All I know is this: if someone named Brian Piccolo emails me it gets in each week. And do you know why?
“I'd like to tell you about a guy I know, a friend of mine. His name is Brian Piccolo. And he has the heart of a giant, and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent, cancer. He has a mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the world 'courage,' 24 hours a day, every day of his life. Now you honor me by giving me this award. But I say to you here now Brian Piccolo is the man who deserves the George S. Halas award. It is mine tonight... and Brian Piccolo's tomorrow. I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.”
Seriously? You are going to start by modeling the "spirit" of a WWF "commisioner"?. It's a made up job whose scope changes based on the whims of a group of reject soap opera writers and Vince McMahon's latest testi shrinking 'roid rage episode.
You're going to strip Ortiz of the title of greatest clutch hitter in Sox history? McLovin said it best, ""You don't have the technology or the steady hands to pull off a procedure like that. So ha, peace!" What does it say to you that after you "throw in...perhaps the greatest pennant race in history...you've almost got a wash". That sounds a lot like you are saying if you give extra weight to the '67 season, then Yaz was almost as clutch as Ortiz.
In true Mini-hater form, allow me to retort with a fact just as meaningless. 2004 is unquestionably the greatest series comeback in history point blank and period. Ortiz had 2 game winners in win or go home situations. Clutch enough for you?
Ortiz, Bonds, Mac, Sosa, Clemens and A-rod are all the same huh? And a shoplifter and a bank robber are both theifs.
I don't care about steroids, never have. If I thought that 5% of the players were using something and 95% were playing "the right way", maybe I'd feel different, but when its more like 60/40 either way, then where is the competitive advantage they are gaining?
Bonds/Clemens - Smug unlikable dinks who treated people like garbage. Never failed a test on record, but we all know. Both also perjured themselves in arrogance.
Big-Mac/Sammy Sosa - Out of the game before testing. Known user of androstendione and substances that were later banned. (Sammy corked a bat, which to me is more like cheating than drinking creatine)
Manny - Only guy on your list to fail a real drug test under the current testing policy making him the only guy to violate a real MLB rule.
A-rod/Ortiz - Failed an anonymous test for ped's 6 years ago. Sorry, I just can't get mad at a guy for allegedly testing positive in a test that didn't count for a substance that may not have been banned at the time 6 years after the fact. Ortiz would have already spouted a half ass apology, but Gammons is off this week and can't hold his hand.
So yeah they are all the same, except for all the differences. Even if Ortiz was remotely the same as Manny, do you think these guys get booed based on the fact that people think they are cheaters? Oh Kirk, go back to collecting baseball cards. It's because of laundry, or that they are dinks, and people are jealous haters.
Do you think Steelers fans really believe the Pat's won Superbowls because Matt Walsh made fictional walkthrough tapes? No additional video ever turned up and ESPN still had all day long "cheating" coverage of tapes that were non-existent.
Thanks for legislating peoples right to boo or not boo based on cold hard inaccurate facts though. You, much like the WWF "comissioner" are clown shoes.
A: A winner, Jake. I love it. “Clown Shoes” Minihane is a keeper.
I wonder if Bill Buckner would’ve used PED’s in 1986.
I’m serious. Who better? The guy was the perfect storm – plagued by a brutal injury but didn’t want to get off the field. He was Cap Rooney from “Any Given Sunday” (which I guess means Dave Stapleton would have been Willie Beamen – bad casting). Maybe a little juice would have done the trick and saved a pretty damn good player (I know people under 30 or so think the guy is a joke but Buckner would’ve been close to 3,000 hits if he had stayed healthy) from infamy. That I almost would have understood.
But what this crew has done is pretty simple. They have taken a 10-year period in baseball history and made it impossible to figure out. You tell me, Jake, that it’s 60/40 either way. How do you know that? You don’t, and neither do I. Could be 80/20 or 20/80. And now I just assume that everyone does it, and that probably isn’t right either. Jeff Bagwell, to my knowledge, has never failed a steroid test. But there have been so many whispers and rumors around him that I think he won’t get into the Hall of Fame despite lock numbers. Is that fair? And on the other end, how can you read a story about how Albert Pujols is clean and absolutely believe it? You can’t.
(The worst piece of “I can’t believe this guy is writing this” is Rick Reilly’s column from a few months back righting the wrongs in MVP voting. How about this paragraph from the 412-time National Sportswriter of the Year?
Step up here, Mike Piazza. The late Ken Caminiti of the San Diego Padres stole your 1996 NL MVP, then admitted he was into more juice than Jack LaLanne. Yes, it's 13 years late, but the nameplate is new! And here's yours from 2001, Luis Gonzalez, after you finished behind The Barry Bonds Pharmacy. We won't even mention the home run title you would've won that year.
Uh, Rick? You sure we’re okay backing these horses? How about waiting a few years before cranking out that baby?)
And you can Clown Shoes me from now until 2058 but leave the late Jack Tunney out of this. If Bud Selig had handled the steroid mess with the calm leadership that Tunney showed following the twin Hebner fiasco baseball would be in a better place. You think Bud would have the guts to suspend Jake “The Snake” Roberts 30 days without pay?
As a fellow Boston transplant, I'm sure you've had at least one surreal experience of conversing with a West Coast sports fan who has absolutely no friggin' idea what they're talking about. My favorite was during last year's division series, Game 4, Sox versus Angels. I'm sitting in a bar watching the game next to a so-called "Halos" supporter who couldn't identify Vlad Guerrero if his life depended on it. He claimed to be a "casual sports fan", not really interested in the playoffs. For about six innings things are polite, cordial. And then the Angels rally in the eighth - suddenly this dude turns into a taunting, obnoxious loudmouth, screaming at me, "WHAT ARE YOUR BOYS GONNA DO NOW, HUH?!!? WHAT THEY GONNA DO?!!?" Perhaps most pathetic was that the taunting was diminished by the man's startling lack of baseball knowledge. He was misidentifying players, forgetting how many outs there were - the highlight was his comment concerning Jason Bay being on second in the bottom of the ninth with one down: "EASY OUT!" he exclaimed to the Angel faithful, which consisted of a waiter, a couple making out passionately over a plate of chicken quesadillas, and a forty-something year old man wearing an oh-so-hip and kitschy Dukes of Hazard T-shirt. I wanted to say, "No, sir. Actually, this is a rather difficult out. And if you shut the f**k up for two minutes you'll witness what "my boys" always do to your team in October: score a run in the ninth and sweep the series." But I didn't say that. I sat silently, watched the Sox win, and then left the bar seething with societal rage. Closest I've ever been to starting a fight club.
My question is this: Is this man's behavior a result of (a) growing up in California and suddenly feeling the urge "to represent", especially against a real fan who comes from a real city, (b) having two sports teams to root for and therefore never establishing a true bond with either, (c) being a complete jerk - they're everywhere, even in Boston, or (d) all of the above?
Sherman Oaks, CA
A: Let me say this: I worked at Upper Deck for about three years (in Carlsbad, CA – 35 miles or so north of San Diego). I was one of seven copy editors. For a brief period (I’d say nine months or so) the department had FOUR people from Massachusetts vs. two from California (the other guy was from Ohio). And that’s how it seems everywhere you go out there – very few people seem to actually be from there. But the ones that are have a hatred for East Coast teams. They truly believe that ESPN has a bias against any team that isn’t within, say, 150 miles of Bristol. So if you root for the Pats or the Celtics or the Red Sox you are part of that agenda.
Look, it’s a different life out there. Permanent vacation, plain and simple. It’s tough to grow up in San Diego or San Simeon and be a real sports fan. I think good, hard winters go a long way to building a young kid into a sports fan. And those winters do not exist in California. No stress either. Swimming and surfing and volleyball all year long. I don’t blame them, either. I’m sure I wouldn’t have spent all the winters of my youth reading Bill James books and memorizing the Baseball Encyclopedia if there wasn’t snow and ice all the time.
(An example on the weather. One day in January 2007 I ran into a co-worker in the hallway at Upper Deck. She remarked how we just “have to get through this winter. She then mentioned how she couldn’t get out of bed the day before (“the floor was so cold and my car was parked outside) so she called in sick. The low temperature for that day? Forty-eight degrees. Forty-eight in January in Boston? People are calling in sick to do stuff outside. And it’s not their fault. They really think it’s winter. I’ve seen people I know, reasonable people for the most part, with four, five layers of clothes on in 60-degree weather.)
I’d go all of the above on that question, Jim. There are some good fans in California and some morons in Boston. But I absolutely agree that Boston is a “real city” and the only city that comes close in California is San Francisco (which actually does get some weather in the winter, come to think of it). But if you want to find out where to find “monster quac” or see former strippers with huge fake boobs now born-again with three kids and a 62-year-old husband, come on out to San Diego. And if the Chargers start out 6-1 they’ll be into it. But if they start out 1-6 it’ll be cool, man. Because the waves at Moonlight Beach are, to quote my old neighbor, “in a constant state of orgasm”. You don’t hear that much in Revere.
I’ve got the second pick in my fantasy draft. I already know Adrian Peterson will go first. I’m thinking of Michael Turner at No. 2. Good move, or would you take MJD or even a quarterback?
A: Ken, let me say first that I am no longer the fantasy “expert” at WEEI.com. After a lengthy and exhaustive search the great Greg Levy (http://realitybites.weei.com/) has taken over the ship. And I have full belief that he will be our Merrill Stubing.
The No. 2 pick? Depends, I guess. I think there are three candidates – Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner and Matt Forte. I think I’d go with Forte in a PPR league (he caught 63 passes last season to six for Turner) and Turner in a non-PPR league. I’m worried that Jones-Drew isn’t going to be able to carry the ball 300 times in a season. To be honest if I had the first pick in a PPR league I still might take Forte over Peterson. There is no Chester Taylor to steal goal-line scores from Forte and Peterson doesn’t catch the ball. And you have to like Jay Cutler over whatever Minnesota is going to throw out there. But in a non-PPR league Peterson is a no-brainer.
Five other quick fantasy thoughts…
(1) Don’t take DeAngelo Williams in the top five. He’ll split carries with Jonathan Stewart and that TD burst he went on last season was a little flukish. He’s a late first-rounder (maybe early second) but no higher.
(2) Want a running back with first-round value in the third or fourth round? Pierre Thomas. Forget Reggie Bush (though he still has value in a PPR league), Thomas is the lead back for one of the top two or three offenses in the NFL. I’m thinking 1,200 yards rushing and 10 TDs. Plus he’ll catch some passes. I’d rather take a Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson with the sixth or seventh overall pick and use a third on Thomas rather than, say, Steven Jackson in the first and TO in the third.
(3) Michael Turner. Roddy White. Tony Gonzalez. Ten games indoors in 2009. Matt Ryan makes the jump and finishes the season ranked in the top five among QBs.
(4) Kyle Orton will have a better fantasy season than Jay Cutler.
(5) The top rookie this season? I’ll go with Donald Brown. I don’t trust Joseph Addai to stay healthy this season.
Mr. Getting Closer to D-bag Status,
I like the Globe ripping every week. Keep it up. (A bunch of stuff about various scribes at the Globe that probably don’t need to be printed followed)
A: Are you crazy, Jeff? Did you not hear that the Globe and WEEI are Ashford and Simpson again? I love all those guys! This could finally be my chance to show up in Bill Brett’s party photos.
So Tony Mazz made a teeny mistake and plumb forgot to mention that he co-wrote that book with Ortiz before he blasted him with 1,500 words of moral judgment last Thursday. Hey, it happens. We are all teammates now, right? And c’mon, it’s not like Tony wrote some other book that profited off The Steroid Era that disgusts him so. He wouldn’t have forgotten about two books. That’d be as crazy as calling a team that won two World Series in four years a dynasty.
Care to speak on the irony of Pete Sheppard repeatedly labeling callers "idiots" who proposed potential Sox deals, when the Big Show spent a solid week trying to convince listeners that Lebron James could conceivably be in Boston in 2010? D&C and Dale and Holley were guilty of it as well. None of them took the time to figure out how Boston could get under the cap, of course. Mind-blowing and mind-numbing radio. Emails explaining the following went ignored - would have gotten in the way of a good debate, I guess.
Prior to signing Rasheed Wallace the Celtics already had over 70 million dollars of salaries on the books, so they'd have to shed a good 40 million to make room for a max player.
Their case was Boston gives him the best chance of winning. Well, they'd have to jettison Rondo, let Ray Allen's contract expire, and then hope that Paul Pierce opts out of his 21 million dollar player option and resigns for near the vet minimum just to get far enough under the cap. And that was before the salary cap projection was bumped down to 50 million for 2010-11.
So, yes, it's conceivable that they could get under the cap for 2010, but you'd trade away almost the entire roster and hope that Pierce takes a 20 million dollar pay cut in the process. Oh, and players can make more money by signing with their current team, so not only would Pierce have to take a 20 million dollar paycut, but Lebron would be taking one as well to sign in Boston because a 34 year old KG and 33 year old Paul Pierce with no starting backcourt (remember Allen and Rondo are gone), no promising, cheap young players, and no money to invest in the rest of the roster is his best chance to win.
And these callers are in fantasy land?
I don't find EEI hosts as condescending as some, but I couldn't help but smile when thinking back to "Lebron or Dwade could come to Boston because Wyc said there is a scenario in which it could potentially happen" week. A simple look into the rules of the CBA reveals just how unrealistic it is.
A: One of my earliest sports radio memories is a caller jamming his way through Haystacks Calhoun and Aruba talk to ask Eddie, Mark and Jim if the Yankees would trade Don Mattingly for Rick Miller. Straight up. If I could eliminate one thing from sports talk radio it would be all trade proposals (though I’d settle for Butch Stearns).
I’ll be honest: I didn’t hear any of this LeBron stuff but it doesn’t surprise me. Yes, sometimes the hosts on WEEI don’t let the facts get in the way of a story that could kill three hours on a day when nothing is going on.
(Sorry, I’m a little distracted as I write this. Just watching Bill Clinton getting it done in North Korea. Sort of Iron Eagle without the team jackets. By the way, how many people did their bad Clinton imitation and made a threesome joke while watching the two journalists getting on the plane with Slick Willie?)
This email got me thinking about the Celtics. Can we give them a two-year window as legitimate title contenders? Agreed? Let’s say they fail to win another title. If you could go back into the time machine would you trade that one title for the second pick in the 2007 draft and take your chances with a Durant/Rondo/Jefferson trio over the next decade? I guess you can’t throw a title back into the river (especially one that includes a Finals win over the Lakers) but it would be tempting. Durant is going to win MVPs, Jefferson, if healthy, will be a 20-10 guy every year and we know all about Rondo. Tough call.
I read your column all the time just had a few questions.
1. When do you think Terry Francona will leave and who will be the next Red Sox Manager.
2. And what about Belichick?
A: I’m on the record that Francona will retire after the 2011 season and Jason Varitek will be the next manager of the Red Sox. I have spoken maybe eight words to Varitek in my life, which may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that is eight more than I have exchanged with Francona it looks like “Frost/Nixon”. Point is it’s just a guess, of course. But it falls into the “Makes too much sense not to at least be considered” category, right?
Tell you what, Matt. Let me ask someone on the inside. I will call Robert Farnsworth Bradford, runner of marathons and a man who has perfected the art of falling asleep in a movie theatre.
Kirk: Rob, give me odds. Francona retires after 2011 and Varitek takes over as manager. What do you think? One in ten? Twenty?
Bradford: (Laughs). Come on.
Bradford: I’d go with one in a hundred at best.
Kirk: Really? Huh. Okay, who’s next in line then?
Kirk: Ok. Thanks. Oh, one other question that I would term semi-related. If you could get just one mulligan, would you use it to take back the time you said Kevin Youkilis wouldn’t make it in the major leagues because he has a bad body or the time you told me that you found Kathy Najimy attractive?
Bradford: Having played golf with me you know I take more than one mulligan.
Kirk: You know, if you switched the two you’d be at least 50 percent right.
So there you go, Matt. I still think it’s better than one in a hundred, though.
Belichick? Who knows? I think of the four coaches in Boston he’ll be the last one standing. He seems totally alone this season, doesn’t he? Weis, Romeo, Mangini, McDaniels and now Pioli are gone. Must feel like that first couple of days in college when you knew maybe one person. I picture him trying to get Dean Pees to go with him to see a 1:30 showing of “Funny People” at Patriot Place to kill time in between two-a-days.
As much as I would like to get your millionth take on the big Jim Rice-Dwight Evans Hall of Fame debate, I value your opinion on a much larger issue -- who was the worst cast color commentator in sports movie history (because we all know John Dennis is the standard bearer for greatness in such a role)?
A: Come on, Bernie. This isn’t even close.
The USA Network must have spent 10-15 million to secure the rights to the Rocky-Drago fight. Biggest sporting event since USSR-USA at Lake Placid. They land Barry Tompkins as the play-by-play guy. Good, solid hire. For the color they have to go big, right? George Foreman? Larry Holmes? The Fight Doctor? Angelo Dundee? Bert Sugar? Someone hugely relevant in the world of 1985 boxing was a must. So who did we get?
How about Al Bandiero?
This must’ve been a favor from Sly to Frank Stallone. I smell a gambling debt paid off with this piece of casting. How else can it be explained?
“This is incredible”. Yup, thanks, Al. No kidding. A guy 20 years older and three feet shorter is about to knock out a man that hit 2150 on the PSI index and that’s all you’ve got to say? Plus Rocky was in the middle of ending communism. We needed Larry Merchant and he wasn’t there for us.
(I looked up Al Bandiero on IMDB – the Mariano Rivera of the internet (a one-trick pony that still is the best at what they do after 15 years) – and the guy is JACKED now. He looked like Jimmy Smits with an eating disorder in 1985.)
I bet Bernie was watching Rocky IV on Spike last weekend and felt the urge to email. I was doing the same. It’s pathetic, really, as much as I try and pass myself off as some sort of film expert the two movies in my life I’ve seen the most have to be Rocky III and Rocky IV. And I suspect it’s not even close.
Three things on my mind after watching Rocky IV for the 888,322nd time on Sunday…
Why was Paulie given a microphone during the press conference announcing the Drago/Rocky fight? Was a member of media actually going to ask him a question?
Why did Drago stay in the ring and listen to Rocky’s speech after the fight? Seems WAY out of character to me.
And if Drago had been busted for the steroids, how long would it have taken him to hold a press conference to discuss it? Keep in mind that we are in 1980s Soviet Union, where nobody speaks about anything. Throw in that Drago wasn’t exactly Sean Casey and I’d go with five days before he has to speak. That to me would be the absolute maximum before people began to wonder if you were hiding something else. Wouldn’t be possible to wait any longer, would it?
Kirk Minihane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org