Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good Journalism Out of Boston

I'm actually not being sarcastic here. And I give Tony Massarotti a lot of crap on this blog. I once referred to him here as the best baseball writer in Boston, and he also does a good job as Felger's sidekick on the radio. However, I disagree with a lot of his opinions, mostly because I think they're completely full of crap. Whatever.

Today he should be lauded for his responsible journalism. With the shameless, borderline-disgraceful homerism that comes from Boston journalists, Massarotti included specifically in terms of Varitek, the Waltham native and Real World (click the link) alum rose above it. Let's put it this way. David Ortiz made Massarotti a significant amount of money. Ortiz "wrote" an autobiography "with" Massarotti, which really meant Massarotti wrote it. People bought it. I may have actually been one of those people (if I wasn't, the Wilmington library was). When you're writing a 300-page book together, you build a relationship. When Ortiz popped off, blaming the Boston media for his father's urinary tract infection (sorry, that was Mo Vaughn, he blamed the media for being mean to him), Mazz lit him up on the radio today.

By "lit him up," I mean he said Ortiz was full of crap. Blaming the media for all of his problems, according to Massarotti, is irresponsible. Obviously, I agree strongly with Mazz, because if I didn't I'd be writing about Jon Lester tonight. Ortiz's shortcomings the last two years (and he said Ortiz's performance has been inadequate on the aggregate for the 2009 and 2010 seasons) are the result of many things. He's old. He suffered a significant wrist injury. He doesn't have Manny. And he did steroids during his heyday. Mazz went to all of these places.

He also went through the entire Ortiz-talking-trash timeline--also unexpected. He said that his co-author started to sour on him in 2009 when he started criticizing the Red Sox organization's not acquring another bat. Shut up and hit. I agree with Mazz whole-heartedly. He went through all of the other things, including the steroid thing and how this town gave him a Lance Armstrong "we'll just ignore these credible steroid accusations" treatment. The team, as this bombshell Howard Bryant article said, put their helmet on the steroid shrapnel with this guy. The ownership no longer speaks to Shaughnessy because he has been critical of the player. And now the player is going out and saying the team is trying to turn the fans against him. That is absolutely dispicable. Bottom line, the player is bashing the GM, the player is bashing the media on several different occasions, and this week alone is bashing the organization and the media.

The latest things he said today, saying the media shouldn't, well, breathe air because they've never hit a baseball or never been through a slump sounded like the anonymous HYD commenter about two years back saying that we sucked sitting in our "chinos and cartigans [sic]" and hadn't played baseball before. How juvenile of an argument is that? I can guarantee you that if, for example, Pat wanted to become a journalist instead of a lawyer and got stuck with track and field for five years, he'd know more about running than me, the guy who participates in it. I am man enough to admit that people watching and analyzing it CAN know about something. Do Shakespeare scholars have no authority because they've never written sonnets about a dude before? How about Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley, and Lou Merloni doubting you, Ortiz? Go away.

But what I thought was interesting about today is not that I dislike what this steroid guy said. It's the fact that his co-biographer came out and ripped him today. True, it may be the case that what they wrote together can now be categorized as fiction ("I didn't hit 50 homers in Minnesota because management wanted me to hit singles." What a load of garbage, and I'm an idiot for believing it). But the two guys clearly have (or at least had) a relationship. But by reporting, analyzing, and having a reasonable opinion instead of displaying typical Boston homerism is why Massarotti deserves a whole blog post of praise today. I found it very interesting. And very admirable.

Other fun stuff:
1. Manny Ramirez straining his pinky toe and missing two games. That is unbelievable.
2. Jon Lester is less flashy and gets far less hype than the two high-profile right-handers on his staff. However, he's getting the job done. Tonight's performance was great. It doesn't seem that long ago when he was walking five guys a night, every night. I'm not talking about this April or last April. I'm talking about back when he was a rookie. Back then I don't think anyone expected Jon Lester to be as good as he is. Clay Buchholz--yeah, we probably expected this. But not Lester. And we should also talk about Youkilis's home run. Nobody's hit a ball that far to that area since Mo Vaughn on a Saturday night in 1995.
3. I bet FTB has something to say about Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong. I feel like Lance and Ivan Rodriguez are getting the same treatment. Implicated all over the place. Obviously that they used. But people find it inconvenient to hate on them. Cowards.

Enjoy your weekend. Franchise is graduating, so I know I will. Behind the end of JD Drew's career, this is the second-most anticipated event for me since the HYD advent.


from the bronx said...

gm, it will be very interesting to see what happens after the emails landis wrote to WADA. WADA, for its part, seems to be very interested in what landis had to say. you have to think that within the world of cycling and international doping agencies, armstrong's EPO use is among the worst kept secrets going, and there are those within organizations like WADA that would love to finally get something to stick to armstrong. landis is going to have a credibility problem in the eyes of the public, but not to WADA (think of how helpful Dwain Chambers was after he came clean) and they will probably pursue every loose end in Landis' new account of things. hopefully, something will turn up, and even if nothing turns up perhaps there will be a renewed focus on what happened at the 1999 tour, when Lance did indeed test positive for EPO, which seems to have been forgotten by all of Lance's defenders.

as it relates to baseball, i don't know that this will mean anything, but if lance goes down it should mean that fans of major sports should recognize the need for blood testing, out-of-season testing, blood storage and genetic passport-type testing that is currently not being done. but i am still of the belief that not enough MLB/NFL fans even care if the sports are dirty to make that happen.

The GM said...

It should definitely be interesting. I mean, I know my boy (who's much more into cycling/endurance sports than I am) compared f***ing with Lance to f***ing with Alejandro Sosa, with Floyd Landis being the Tony Montana who got too big too fast, but really what we have going here is someone trying to bring down Paulie Cicero like Henry Hill did at the end of Goodfellas. All of Paulie's guys are saying "oh, this guy is a rat, he's a snitch, he has no credibility, look at all the coke and guns that were in his house"), while it's just a matter of whether there's enough evidence to prove the obvious: That Lance Armstrong is the freaking godfather of doping in endurance sports.

One more thing: Going back to Ortiz, I read the Globe article today about him popping off, and I was dumbfounded. Ortiz was ripping the media for "tak[ing] the happiness away" in the interest of "making some extra dirty money." Tell that to the clean guy kept out of a major league job because Ortiz was pumping his ass full of illegal substances and hitting home runs. If Ortiz had not made "dirty money" by doing steroids, he wouldn't be in this situation. He would have been sitting under the mango tree in the DR a long time ago. Doing it is one thing. But doing it and ripping others for trying to make "dirty money" is further reason that this guy is completely freaking dead to me.