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Monday, April 30, 2012

Bradford: Appreciating the uniqueness of David Ortiz

As Friedrich Nietzscheinblum once said…“At bottom every ballplayer knows well enough that he is a unique hitter.”

“I was impressed,” said Ortiz regarding the presentation compiled by his agent for the potential arbitration hearing. “I looked up what I’ve done through the years, but it’s not like I’m sitting down to look at my numbers over my career. And my career has been pretty good throughout the years, and that’s what they bring to the table in arbitration.

“Maybe [having a permanent designated hitter] not a big deal for some teams, but it’s like my agent told me at the time, not every team has a David Ortiz. So when it comes down to DH, that’s the difference. You have a guy who is capable of hitting for power, hitting for average, getting RBI and on top of that all the other things I bring to the ball club, we’re talking about not just a DH. You’re talking about a player you definitely want to have on your ball club.”

...It was a reality that was surfaced once again Thursday night when Ortiz tied Jim Rice and Frank Howard on the all-time home run list with 382. And when measuring up against the standard bearer for designated hitters, Martinez, Ortiz resides just .020 points behind in OPS and 68 hits shy of the 16-year veteran.

“Why do people look at it so negatively?” Ortiz asked when the subject of the Hall of Fame accepting a designated hitter came up.

“I hate to talk about it because of the way people look at it. It’s a position that I didn’t come out of my country. They created it for some reason. Every position has Hall of Famers, why doesn’t this one, especially if you put up sick numbers? This is part of the game. The criticize me because I don’t play in the field. They thought that up, it wasn’t me.”

Repoz Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:09 AM | 91 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:31 AM (#4119571)
Plus he's got that whole Andy Pettitte "awww, we can't stay mad at your PEDs" thing going for him.
   2. karlmagnus Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:44 AM (#4119573)
If they put this bozo in and not Manny I'm marching on Cooperstown with pitchforks.
   3. Dan Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:51 AM (#4119575)
If Duquette had been the one to pick Ortiz off the scrap heap rather than Theo you'd be singing his praises until you were blue in the face.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4119578)
Ortiz' last two seasons are really amazing. He's returned to his peak level of performance, and he's done it by cutting his strikeouts by 1/3 while improving his on-contact hitting numbers. Ortiz isn't quite destroying the ball on contact at the rates he did at his peak, but because he's striking out so rarely, the decline in on-contact hitting doesn't affect his overall numbers.

According to Papi, he has learned a ton about hitting from talking to Adrian Gonzalez. Ortiz is such a gregarious, social, charismatic guy, and it seems like he makes this work for him professionally. I doubt he would have ever become Big Papi if he hadn't been in the clubhouse talking hitting all day with Manny Ramirez, and now he's picked up some new ideas and techniques from Adrian Gonzalez which have fueled this new surge.
   5. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4119590)
It's been a joy watching him hit this year.
   6. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4119598)
He's been particularly impressive against lefties. He struggled against them his whole career, then last season .329/.423/.566 and this season .423/.444/.654. This coming off a 2010 where he was .222/.275/.324 against LHP.
   7. donlock Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4119620)
When Papi is finished dusting off his halo, would he care to comment on this?



Is David Ortiz Freaking Out In the Clubhouse About A Scoring Change That Cost Him An RBI Real?


CSSNE -David Ortiz burst into the middle of Sox manager Terry Francona’s press conference in the media room upstairs from the Sox clubhouse, and was running hot about something. Ortiz said “I’m [bleeping] pissed. We need to have a talk . . . you and me” before the manager and designated hitter agreed to talk about things at a more appropriate time. Then Ortiz gave away exactly what was bothering him when he muttered “[Bleepin’] scorekeeper always [bleepin’] [bleep] up” while exiting the room. Ortiz was most certainly upset about a change made by official scorer Chaz Scoggins in Wednesday night’s game that turned his first inning two-run single into a one-run single with an error on the left fielder allowing the second run to score. That means an RBI was taken away from Ortiz midway through the game, and he was upset enough about it to bust up Francona’s daily pregame meeting with the press with a few choice words. When approached later in the clubhouse, Ortiz declined comment comment on the incident except to say it was “between me and Tito.”


What a colossal dick.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4119626)
I didn't know Dan Shaughnessy had an account here.
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4119634)
According to Papi, he has learned a ton about hitting from talking to Adrian Gonzalez. Ortiz is such a gregarious, social, charismatic guy, and it seems like he makes this work for him professionally. I doubt he would have ever become Big Papi if he hadn't been in the clubhouse talking hitting all day with Manny Ramirez, and now he's picked up some new ideas and techniques from Adrian Gonzalez which have fueled this new surge.



Keeping telling yourself it's "new ideas and techniques". And I'll keep telling myself that Jeter's resurgence is about his "fitness regimen". And we'll both be happy.
   10. Gotham Dave Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4119637)
Does it always have to be about steroids, guys? Ortiz looks like he lost about 50 pounds, that enough of a fitness regimen for you? Is there any reason to think that Derek Jeter, after enjoying a decade and a half of golden reputation, five championships, 3,000 hits, and a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown, would start taking steroids? I mean, we know how Jeter feels about his testicles, guys. Jeter gift baskets for everyone who stops talking about steroids any time a player has a breakout/comeback season.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4119638)
December 16, 2002: Released by the Minnesota Twins.
   12. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4119642)
Does it always have to be about steroids, guys? Ortiz looks like he lost about 50 pounds, that enough of a fitness regimen for you? Is there any reason to think that Derek Jeter, after enjoying a decade and a half of golden reputation, five championships, 3,000 hits, and a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown, would start taking steroids? I mean, we know how Jeter feels about his testicles, guys. Jeter gift baskets for everyone who stops talking about steroids any time a player has a breakout/comeback season.


A whole lot of *this*. There's a decent testing program in place now and it seems to be working. Good for Papi for working so hard to reinvent himself (and this goes for Jeter, too.) It does make you wonder what Papi could have been capable of during his 04-07 peak had he actually worked this hard back then.
   13. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4119651)
December 16, 2002: Released by the Minnesota Twins.


Unbelievable, isn't it? It's entirely possible we're 6 years away from the 100th anniversary of the title drought, otherwise.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4119658)
It does make you wonder what Papi could have been capable of during his 04-07 peak had he actually worked this hard back then.


Uhh, what? I think what he achieved over those years is pretty much his ceiling.
   15. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4119660)
Does it always have to be about steroids, guys? Ortiz looks like he lost about 50 pounds, that enough of a fitness regimen for you?

He has a history of use. And the whole dropping 50 lbs etc etc is precisely why I think he's using. Call it "Brian Downing" syndrome.

You really think that players never worked harder as they got older in the past to fend off father time?

But by all means, keep the faith.
   16. villageidiom Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4119662)
When Papi is finished dusting off his halo, would he care to comment on this?
Pedroia played a prank on Ortiz by telling him the scoring change was ownership's idea, in order to keep his stats looking weaker in his contract year.
What a colossal dick.
I suppose you are, yes, but I would've just said you were underinformed.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4119664)
whole lot of *this*.


Yes. If there's a drug that enables players to *maintain* youth and talent, rather than create it? I don't give a #### if they all take it.*


*Again, my main line of attack against steroids is just the visual anecdote of how regular schmoe after regular schmoe would stride up to the plate, looking nothing like the average body type of a player today, flick his wrists and the ball would sail out opposite field....that's just all IMHO, not something I'm going to go to war over.

Oh, and fantasy-wise?

Average pick taken:

Pujols: 3.2
ARod: 44.6
Elvis Andrus: (lolz) 49.2
Craig Kimbrel: 51.9
Paul Goldschmidt: 120
David Ortiz: 126.1

Yes, he has to take your utility spot. Bigggggdeeeeal.
   18. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4119666)
He has a history of use. And the whole dropping 50 lbs etc etc is precisely why I think he's using. Call it "Brian Downing" syndrome.


Oh come on, do you really think George Mitchell would tolerate such shenanigans? His dear chum Bud Selig would be crestfallen at such an abdication of duty.
   19. villageidiom Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4119675)
He has a history of use.
He has a history of:

(a) being on the 2003 testing list, and

(b) MLB and MLBPA immediately coming to his defense by emphasizing that not everyone on the list tested positive, let alone tested positive for a steroid. (And also emphasizing that, per the agreement of the 2003 testing, they could not legally say more - not even to Ortiz.)

I can't deny that he might have used. But everyone else who has been revealed under (a) was left hanging on (b), while Ortiz wasn't. Regardless of whether this should be interpreted in Ortiz's favor and not in favor of other names on the list, I don't know; but at the least both MLB and MLBPA are emphasizing that you are wrong to assert what you have. We do not know what his history is.
   20. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4119676)
Oh come on, do you really think George Mitchell would tolerate such shenanigans? His dear chum Bud Selig would be crestfallen at such an abdication of duty.


Exactly. I'm still pissed of that Hercule Poirot couldn't solve The Hound of the Baskervilles case. Or that Serpico didn't stop the Zodiac murders.
   21. mswift Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4119688)
There's a decent testing program in place now and it seems to be working.


What on earth gives you the impression the new testing program is working ?
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4119697)
(b) MLB and MLBPA immediately coming to his defense by emphasizing that not everyone on the list tested positive, let alone tested positive for a steroid. (And also emphasizing that, per the agreement of the 2003 testing, they could not legally say more - not even to Ortiz.)


I seem to recall that Clemens's attorneys have been able to confirm that he was not on the 2003 list.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4119698)
What on earth gives you the impression the new testing program is working ?


Because Barry Bonds was forced out of the game. Uh-duh. Steroids issue resolved.
   24. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4119705)
So can we count Ortiz as a guy who made an adjustment to his approach successfully? Or is there some reason he doesn't count?
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4119707)
What on earth gives you the impression the new testing program is working ?


What gives you the impression it isn't? How did MLB benefit from fingering* Ryan Braun, its newly minted MVP and owner of a lucrative long-term contract, as a steroid user?

* Ineptly, as it turned out.
   26. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4119715)
What on earth gives you the impression the new testing program is working ?


a) Either there's a grand conspiracy amongst every writer & analyst around the game or *steroids* have been pushed to the fringes of the game.

b) MLB doesn't seem to have any problem with popping a wildly popular reigning MVP from a small market. That's pretty good evidence. Try to imagine WWE popping John Cena for a failed steroid test if you want to see what an easily rigged, loophole-ridden system looks like.
   27. mswift Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4119719)
What gives you the impression it isn't?


The lack of positive tests. Or do you believe Braun was the only one to look for something extra ?
   28. Morty Causa Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4119726)
If the Red Sox were smart [slap on side of head], they'd try to get as much for Ortiz as they can while he still is looking good.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4119727)
The lack of positive tests. Or do you believe Braun was the only one to look for something extra ?


I don't think he's the only one who's failed a test. I guess it depends on what you mean by "not working." I'm sure it hasn't caught everyone, or even come close. I'm equally sure it's cut down usage, which, I would think, is its primary objective.
   30. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4119736)
Because Barry Bonds was forced out of the game. Uh-duh. Steroids issue resolved.


Hi, Ray. What are you adding to this discussion?

Back to the topic at hand: where did Ortiz learn to go the other way with authority? I don't remember him doing this in the past. Anyone have data on balls-in-play for Ortiz and whether or not this is a new skill? It seems deliberately designed to defeat the shift and it's been working so far. I've been wanting him to do this for years and it seems like he now is a smart enough hitter that he's able to do it. Anyone else feel this way?
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4119738)
Is karlmagnus just a troll now? He used to be someone who participated in discussions with his eccentric opinions. Now he just pops in routinely, makes a single trollish comment to his fellow Sox fans, and never returns to the thread.
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4119742)
What gives you the impression it isn't? How did MLB benefit from fingering* Ryan Braun, its newly minted MVP and owner of a lucrative long-term contract, as a steroid user?


I don't know; how did MLB benefit from destroying the reputation of arguably the greatest pitcher who ever lived by naming him in the Mitchell Report?
   33. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4119750)
Back to the topic at hand: where did Ortiz learn to go the other way with authority? I don't remember him doing this in the past


Wah? He was known for peppering the wall(See the ALDS winning hit in 2004). Then he did try and pull everything, which like you made me pull my hair out.

I just assumed early last year that having AGon in the line-up made him better.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4119759)
where did Ortiz learn to go the other way with authority
Yeah, this is a big deal. I should clarify that this is about hitting grounders and liners to left field. Going the other way with authority on fly balls has always been a huge part of Ortiz' game, and his adjustment to hit the ball on the ground or on a line to left this year is a big part of his success.

Adrian Gonzalez can hit to left against the shift in his sleep, so I think this is probably one of those things that Papi has learned from / worked on with Gonzalez. I also wonder if adding an opposite field swing to his repertoire has helped Papi make more contact.

With the steroid testing, you have to take these things with quite a helping of salt, but the stories from both superstars and more marginal players about the random tests they've submitted to have made me think it's a reasonably well run system.
   35. PepTech Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4119760)
I don't know; how did MLB benefit from destroying the reputation of arguably the greatest pitcher who ever lived by naming him in the Mitchell Report?


Sidd Finch was in the Mitchell Report??
   36. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4119766)
...but the stories from both superstars and more marginal players about the random tests they've submitted to have made me think it's a reasonably well run system.

But the nightmares of Bud Selig controlling all of our thoughts, actions, bank accounts, wives, pets, property values, meals, and baseball players dispute that, so I'm going with my conspiracy theories instead.
   37. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4119768)
Yeah, this is a big deal. I should clarify that this is about hitting grounders and liners to left field.


That's what I meant, sorry for the confusion. It's the contact thing that MCoA points out. I've been surprised by all the non-wall-ball hits to left. That just didn't seem to be in Papi's repertoire. It seems like he really comes to the plate with a plan this year. He just seems like a smarter hitter now than ever before.
   38. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4119772)

I don't know; how did MLB benefit from destroying the reputation of arguably the greatest pitcher who ever lived by naming him in the Mitchell Report?


MLB benefitted by proving its willingness to institutionally embrace a modern anti-PED culture. Braun's positive test is another example of this. Logically, wouldn't it follow that MLB has determined that conducting drug testing with actual teeth is its best strategy going forward?

The Mitchell Report was a big, giant attempt at a truth commission to restore faith in the game and to get Congress off MLB's back. I can guess where you stand on Citizens United, but before that decision, part of the justification for campaign finance laws was to avoid the very appearance of corruption. It's fair to say the same about MLB's attitude towards drug testing: a decent, relatively transparent testing system has helped restore faith in the game by cutting down on doping. Even if it's not perfect, it evidences institutional awareness of doping and an affirmative action against the practice.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4119780)
Ortiz already has - I think - eight non-wall-ball hits to left field. It would take quite a while to make an estimate of his non-wall-ball LF hits from previous seasons, but I'm very confident that's way ahead of his usual pace.
   40. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4119783)
Is karlmagnus just a troll now? He used to be someone who participated in discussions with his eccentric opinions. Now he just pops in routinely, makes a single trollish comment to his fellow Sox fans, and never returns to the thread.


karlmagnus and Yankee Redneck are performance artists as MCoA has detailed in a few posts. It's performance art that looks like trolling.
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4119787)
I don't know; how did MLB benefit from destroying the reputation of arguably the greatest pitcher who ever lived by naming him in the Mitchell Report?


I don't see how it would. Essentially, we're asking the same question.

So you tell me, what does it mean that the steroid testing is "not working?" Do you think scores of players are using, close to the same number and same frequency as pre-testing, and only Braun and a handful of otehrs are dumb enough to have gotten caught? That the tests have been rife with errors, ID'ing non-users or missing on juiceheads?

What is it?

And, a reminder, the fact that steroid testing exists at all, while it may offend your libertarian sensibilities, is not actually a valid answer. (-:
   42. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4119792)
I'm not worked up over whether David Ortiz used steroids. I am interested in Ortiz' future reception on the Hall of Fame ballot as a player who has been "widely rumored" to have used "during the steroid era," as did his teammate(s).

I believe that certain well-liked players like Ortiz or Andy Pettitte will be treated as if they tripped and fell onto needles by accident. Neither Ortiz nor Pettitte are slam-dunk coronation cases, of course, and may not get 75% anyway-- but I foresee minimal BBWAA shrillness and fury coloring their candidacies.
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4119795)
This doesn't get at the entirely of Ortiz' adjustments this year, but I think it's pretty telling. This is the total number of ground ball hits to the left side by David Ortiz in every year of his career with the Red Sox:

2012: 4 (through 21 games)
2011: 6
2010: 8
2009: 2
2008: 1
2007: 8
2006: 5
2005: 5
2004: 2
2003: 6
   44. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4119797)
That is stunning. How he managed to maintain success despite hitting into the shift for so long kind of boggles the mind.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4119801)
I believe that certain well-liked players like Ortiz or Andy Pettitte will be treated as if they tripped and fell onto needles by accident. Neither Ortiz nor Pettitte are slam-dunk coronation cases, of course, and may not get 75% anyway-- but I foresee minimal BBWAA shrillness and fury coloring their candidacies.
The steroid situations of Pettitte and Ortiz are different - Ortiz could be compared to Sammy Sosa, Pettitte to Alex Rodriguez. In both cases, though, their receptions in the media have been far more generous. I'd say that this is a case of Ortiz and Pettitte being treated reasonably justly. The unfairness is about how other guys have been treated. I certainly don't want more players on the receiving end of the two minute hate.

Neither of Ortiz or Pettitte has a good Hall of Fame case, but I think this is another point of divergence. Ortiz is extremely unlikely to receive more than 20% of the vote at any time, barring a crazy late career surge. Pettitte on the other hand stands a good chance at election, despite having a thoroughly underwhelming, Chuck Finley level resume.

EDIT fixin' analogies
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4119812)
karlmagnus and Yankee Redneck are performance artists as MCoA has detailed in a few posts. It's performance art that looks like trolling.


yeah but karlmagnus used to engage and have some real opinions. now he just mails it in with brief trollesquerie and never returns to the thread. YR at least is committed to his art and puts the effort in to say the same thing in different ways.
   47. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4119815)
If the Red Sox were smart [slap on side of head], they'd try to get as much for Ortiz as they can while he still is looking good.

This is crazy. No matter how well he's hitting, I doubt a 36-year-old DH has much trade value, and it's not like the Red Sox have someone to replace his production.
   48. toratoratora Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4119819)
1-By making steroids the focus for the offensive explosion (As opposed to things the owners control like the size of the strike zone, the ball, stadium sizes etc...)the owners shifted any and all blame to the players.
2-Which allowed them to paint the players as cheats who have damaged the "integrity" of the game, that sacred thing that has never been or ever will be.
3-Leading to the Union getting a black eye from the press ,the public, Congress, withsome players ending up being hauled into court and having their lives run through a very public sieve.
4-All of which has left the players looking like the villains in the piece-The very best players (Bonds, Clemens, Arod) of an entire generation (A Maddux here, a Griffey there excepted)have been tarred and feathered with the broad brush of roids...which in turn has colored the way that fans view players.
5-Leading to the first signs of splintering within the Union since, oh I don't know, 1972 or so, as the Schillings on one side and the Millers on the other have publicly sided off against each other.
6-Which, when combined with the smashing the players were getting from Congress, the press, etc..., leading to the union making the first real concessions they've made to the owners in my lifetime. The Union at this point is the weakest that I have ever seen it...mostly directly due to the outcry and bad press they've gotten re steroids.

I don't think it takes much of a leap at all to see how the steroids thing can be seen as being to the owners benefit.
Hell, they even control some of the media that's reported on this over the years. I'm sure that's just a coincidence though...


(Edited to add that maybe I've read Lords of the Realm one too many times, but color me very skeptical when it comes to the owners and their motives. Now cue conspiracy theory background music...)
   49. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4119824)

This is crazy. No matter how well he's hitting, I doubt a 36-year-old DH has much trade value, and it's not like the Red Sox have someone to replace his production.


In some world where the Sox are out of it in July and Papi is still mashing, I could absolutely imagine that Ortiz would generate a ton of interest as a rental. NL teams willing to live with his glove might even consider it. The bigger issue is that I can't imagine the Red Sox ever dealing Papi.
   50. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4119839)
Papi of course can squash any trade too
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4119847)
1-By making steroids the focus for the offensive explosion (As opposed to things the owners control like the size of the strike zone, the ball, stadium sizes etc...)the owners shifted any and all blame to the players.


No one thought the offensive explosion was a bad thing for any reason other than steroids. The 'splosion was celebrated. There was no blame to be shifted.

2-Which allowed them to paint the players as cheats who have damaged the "integrity" of the game, that sacred thing that has never been or ever will be.


If this was a goal, MLB was really slow on the uptake.

3-Leading to the Union getting a black eye from the press ,the public, Congress and led to some players being hauled into court and having their lives run through a very public sieve.


I don't see how making their employees looking like cheats benefits the product they're trying to sell. They were still on the hook for the salaries of these scoundrels.

4-All of which has left the players looking like the villains in the piece-The very best players (Bonds, Clemens, Arod) of an entire generation (A Maddux here, a Griffey there excepted)have been tarred and feathered with the broad brush of roids...which in turn has colored the way that fans view players.


Again, they've tarnished their own product to what end?

5-Leading to the first signs of splintering within the Union since, oh I don't know, 1972 or so, as the Schillings on one side and the Millers on the other have publicly sided off against each other.
6-Which, when combined with the smashing the players were getting from Congress, the press, etc..., led to the union making the first real concessions they've made to the owners in my lifetime. The Union at this point is the weakest that I have ever seen it...mostly directly due to the outcry and bad press they've gotten re steroids.



OK, now you're on to something tangible. But again, if this was the devious owners' intentions, why the hell did it take them so long to wake up to wondrous possibilities? Bud and the owners buried their head in the sand on the issue longer than the media did.

As for the players taking sides, that would (and should) happen independent of the owners. The clean vs. the juiced is the only aspect of the steroids story where there are two sides with genuinely conflicting aims. The existence of steroids in the game really has no meaningful effect on the rest of the sport's stakeholders.

Furthermore, even if true, they've won on that front. What purpose would it serve to finger Ryan Braun as a steroid cheat? Manny, sure, I can see him serving as a nice sacrificial lamb to any ravenous anti-PED horde? But the reigning MVP for the commissioner's former team who has already signed his mega-deal? Doesn't make a lot of sense.*

It seems to me that for any of these scnenarios to be correct, Bud and the owners would have to be, simultaneously, master manipulators AND incompetent boobs.

*Or maybe, the entire foul up with the sample was intentional, designed to throw some people getting too close to the conspiracy off track. Ooh, that's probably it.

   52. Randy Jones Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4119855)
Again, they've tarnished their own product to what end?


This is a weak argument given that the owners spent years tearing down baseball, claiming teams can't compete, they needed to contract teams, etc., all in the name of breaking the union.
   53. Srul Itza Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4119859)
Bud and the owners would have to be, simultaneously, master manipulators AND incompetent boobs.


You say that like it's an unlikely combination. Bud has reigned over an impressive expansion of baseball revenues and popularity, despite looking like an imbecile on numerous occasions and floating some horrendous ideas. It seems like he always gets where he wants to go, while falling down and bruising himself numerous times along the way.

Mind you, I don't buy into all of the conspiracy talk. But I think the Owners at some point DID see the benefit of painting the players and the players' union as the great villain in the steroids drama, taking attention away from their own guilt while using it to drive a wedge among the players and weaken the union -- all with very good results for the Owners. The fact that they did not see it right away does not mean that they did not eventually realize what a winner they had -- and with their shills in the press, they have really played the theme that it was all the Union's fault.

As for Big Papi -- he will eventually slow down, like Jeter, but if he ends up having his best year at age 36, don't expect us Bonds apologists to ignore it as another data point in our favor.

And for the Red Sox to trade him in their Fenway Centennial Year would be unthinkable.

   54. toratoratora Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4119865)
Huh-Are you nuts? The owners have been cutting off their noses despite their faces when it comes to the players for decades.
They've historically done stupid, stupid things (Think of all the players union reps who were traded in the 70's, much to the detriment of the clubs-see Gussie Busch as an example) in order to gain minute concessions or simply as flat out power plays or temper tantrums.
Look at the collusion in the 80's as a perfect demonstration of this.

Going back through your rebuttals:
1-Lots of folks thought the offensive explosion was a bad thing. They watched traditional records not only be broken, but shattered (Sosa hitting 60 HR's multiple times)at an absurd rate and wondered what had happened to the game. Matter of fact, IMHO, that's the key right there for sportwriters-they lost continuity with what they saw as the flow of the games history.
2-I agree there, but I also think the owners went both ways on this. They turned an eye to the steroid use, made bank while records were falling, then when things got ugly, made the players the party at fault and immediately went about taking advantage of said situation.
3-I don't see how it's damaged either attendance or TV contracts, which are the only thing the owners care about...but it sure damaged the players, who historically, or at least Post Union era, the owners have seen as The Enemy.
4-See above
5-We agree here so no rebuttal needed.
I don't actually see the owners as master manipulators (Collectively they are way to incompetent for that)but I think they saw a situation and took advantage of it as best they could.

As for what's happening now, that's a pretty clear deal. The owners and union got hauled in front of Congress, they had to give the boys in DC something so drug testing went through-anyone caught now is living in the fallout.

edited to add cokes to Srul and RJ
   55. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4119870)
But I think the Owners at some point DID see the benefit of painting the players and the players' union as the great villain in the steroids drama, taking attention away from their own guilt while using it to drive a wedge among the players and weaken the union -- all with very good results for the Owners.


No argument that they ultimately saw some benefit from the players getting painted as the sole face of steroid guilt, but the length of time it took to get there (and the fact that they got dragged into the mire by Congress) suggests to me this wasn't part of some master plan, but a happy set of events.

And it doesn't explain what benefit they would continue to accrue.


   56. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4119874)
[Peeks head in, sees that the kids are still talking about steroids.]

In some world where the Sox are out of it in July and Papi is still mashing, I could absolutely imagine that Ortiz would generate a ton of interest as a rental. NL teams willing to live with his glove might even consider it. The bigger issue is that I can't imagine the Red Sox ever dealing Papi.


The point here about Ortiz generating a ton of interest is one thing, but the presumed actual return is another. That is, he won't fetch a ton in return. I think the recent trade market has shown that teams are no longer unloading the farm to trade for stars and superstars. If the Sox are out of it come late June, though, they should consider trading him for whatever they can get because FA compensation is changing (i.e. no more draft picks), right?
   57. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4119888)
Huh-Are you nuts? The owners have been cutting off their noses despite their faces when it comes to the players for decades.
They've historically done stupid, stupid things (Think of all the players union reps who were traded in the 70's, much to the detriment of the clubs-see Gussie Busch as an example) in order to gain minute concessions or simply as flat out power plays or temper tantrums.
Look at the collusion in the 80's as a perfect demonstration of this.


That they've acted foolishly in the past is not a reason they should act foolishly, nor an explanation of how some kind of effective/ineffective steroids policy (I'm not sure which one, I suppose it depends on which conspiracy track you take) BENEFITS them. Which was the question I asked.

Honestly, if the owners sole goal was to break down the union and they were as effectively devious as some seem to think they are, they would have pitted the clean against the dirty a long time ago (say, before the 94 labor talks). That was a legitimate battleground that never really materialized.

I think they're delighted the players have become the sole face of evil in the steroid mess. I also think they had zero to do with that fact. And I think that as long as they have a reasonably effective steroid policy that keeps Congress and the media off their backs, they're happy.
   58. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 30, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4119896)
I'd say that this is a case of Ortiz and Pettitte being treated reasonably justly. The unfairness is about how other guys have been treated. I certainly don't want more players on the receiving end of the two minute hate.

Yes, of course. The problem isn't that they've forgotten to plug the last two or three leaks in the iron hull of the S.S. Enraged Sportswriter. It's the way the BBWAA's fundamental hypocrisy comes with a remarkable extra layer of hypocrisy on top.
   59. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 30, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4119910)
The point here about Ortiz generating a ton of interest is one thing, but the presumed actual return is another. That is, he won't fetch a ton in return. I think the recent trade market has shown that teams are no longer unloading the farm to trade for stars and superstars. If the Sox are out of it come late June, though, they should consider trading him for whatever they can get because FA compensation is changing (i.e. no more draft picks), right?

No, there is still draft pick compensation, teams just no longer have to arbitration. Instead they have to make a qualifying offer to the player, which is supposed to be around 12m for the 2012 off-season. So that's probably cheaper than having to offer Ortiz arb.
   60. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4119927)
I have a hard time seeing the Sox be out of it in July. I think they'll falter in the end, but...
   61. Walt Davis Posted: April 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4120025)
That is stunning. How he managed to maintain success despite hitting into the shift for so long kind of boggles the mind.

By not hitting into the shift. For his career, he hits a ground ball in only about 25% of his PAs. He hits a line drive in about 13% and a HR in 5%. If I did the math right, HRs and LDs account for about 2/3 of his hits.

On Ks, he always had a perfectly fine K rate by today's standards until 2009-10. Still 2011 was the best of his career and he's continuing it this year.
   62. Ron J Posted: April 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4120080)
#61 A couple of years back Bill James wrote an essay where he compared the shift to "Polish mine detectors"

The basic point he was making is that the shift is primarily effective when a guy hits a ground ball, and the David Ortizs of the world are pretty harmless when they hit ground balls at the best of times..

Sure they didn't hit a lick on groungballs when the shift was employed, but they didn't hit a lick on any groundballs. All of the value of players like Ortiz comes on line drives and well hit fly balls, and you can position your infielders as you please for these.
   63. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4120088)
re: 62 - I don't know how frequent this play has happened, but some of the outs on Ortiz with the shift happened on line drives to the "second baseman" playing out in short-right field, not ground balls.
   64. villageidiom Posted: April 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4120097)
re: 62 - I don't know how frequent this play has happened, but some of the outs on Ortiz with the shift happened on line drives to the "second baseman" playing out in short-right field, not ground balls.
And some of his hits on the shift come from line drives between the 2B and SS - IOW, right where the 2B would have been if not for the shift.

Think of all the times Ortiz - or anyone - failed against the shift. In my mind the vast majority were on grounders. And on most grounders to the right side Ortiz is out, shift or no shift.
   65. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4120101)
I've mentioned this before, but...

January 6, 2003: Brad Fullmer signed as a Free Agent with the Anaheim Angels.

January 22, 2003: David Ortiz signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

The Angels signed Fullmer after taking a long look at both him and Ortiz. Fullmer was part of a World Championship, but I suspect that Ortiz would have done just as well.
   66. zachtoma Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4120112)
Wait, wait, the owners control the size of the strike zone wut?
   67. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4120134)
If the Sox are out of it come late June, though, they should consider trading him for whatever they can get because FA compensation is changing (i.e. no more draft picks), right?

They can still offer him a one-year contract for the average of the top 125 salaries in the game, which is give or take 12 million IIRC. If he turns it down, the Red Sox get a pick. It makes things really really interesting, actually.
   68. Dan Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4120139)
If Ortiz has a good year there's no way the SOx wouldn't offer him the one year deal required to get draft picks.
   69. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4120141)
The Sox could have locked Papi up with a multi-year deal several times recently, and at better rates than they had to pay this offseason. Maybe those rolling one-year contracts (and the lack of faith they signify) have motivated him, but it looks like a mistake in retrospect.
   70. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4120142)
Absolutely agree. But would he turn it down?
   71. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4120164)
I've mentioned this before, but...

January 6, 2003: Brad Fullmer signed as a Free Agent with the Anaheim Angels.

January 22, 2003: David Ortiz signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

The Angels signed Fullmer after taking a long look at both him and Ortiz. Fullmer was part of a World Championship, but I suspect that Ortiz would have done just as well.

Interestingly the Red Sox were taking a look at both of these guys as well. It was strange from the Angels because they had non-tendered Fullmer earlier in that offseason to avoid arbitration which made him a free agent (that's what the Twins did with Ortiz as well). They could have just offered him arb and kept him.

There was some thought that when it came to a pinch, Ortiz was far better able to handle first base duties than Fullmer was at the time, and indeed over the next two years Ortiz played first quite a bit and was passable there. He may have spent even more time there if not for the Kevin Millar trade and the Jeremy Giambi implosion.

Even before Fullmer re-signed with the Angels the Red Sox had settled on Ortiz, at least that's how I remember it anyway. Fullmer was doing quite well for the Angels until his career was de-railed by injuries. Sometimes there's just a lot of luck involved.
   72. Randy Jones Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4120172)
Wait, wait, the owners control the size of the strike zone wut?


Sure. The umpires are employed by MLB and MLB makes the rules. Don't you remember several years ago when MLB told the umpires to start calling the high strike?
   73. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 30, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4120210)
Any hipsters want to come on here and say "I liked Ortiz back when he was still David Arias?"
   74. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4120256)
I liked Juan Carlos Oviedo when he was Leo Nunez.
   75. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4120261)
I liked Albert when he was still Joey.

I don't remember Lew before he was Kareem.

Or Cassius before he was Muhammad.

I do remember Ron before he was Metta. (On that note I was watching a clip of Artest's elbow last week. It's kind of funny to hear the announcer go "Art---I mean World Peace.")
   76. Dale Sams Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4120277)
Ortiz sucks.
   77. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4120315)
I don't remember Lew before he was Kareem.

Or Cassius before he was Muhammad.


Both, and Lloyd before he was World B.
   78. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4120336)
I remember Cat before he was Yusef.

EDIT: Um, apparently not. He changed his name in 1978? I was 7, so there's no way I even knew who he was. I must have heard much later that he changed his name and assumed that was the time that he changed it.
   79. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4120338)
The Sox could have locked Papi up with a multi-year deal several times recently, and at better rates than they had to pay this offseason. Maybe those rolling one-year contracts (and the lack of faith they signify) have motivated him, but it looks like a mistake in retrospect.

Surely you recall the back to back horror starts previously to last season? Even though he rebounded quite well both years once June rolled around, we(including the FO obviously) though that the end was nigh. It's pretty easy to sit here in retrospect and make your statement, but no one, and I mean no one, expected this the past 2 years. If your really want to complain about recent contracts...see: Crawford, C and Lackey J.
   80. Ron J Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4120340)
Or Cassius before he was Muhammad.


I also remember the "what's my name" fight with Terrell. A brutal beating of a pretty decent fighter. Don't really remember that aspect of his fight with Patterson.
   81. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4120359)
I remember Cat before he was Yusef.


I remember him when he was Steven Demetre Georgiou. :-)
   82. tfbg9 Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4120399)
Some douche from the Times cited one un-named (NYY fan?) source who said, supposedly, that he saw Ortiz's name on a list. Which contains like 25% false positive names anyway.

That is the extent of the David Ortiz PED case. As Ben Bradley rolls over in his grave. Unless he's still alive or was cremated.
   83. KingKaufman Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4120402)
He has managed to push the stigma that comes with being a full-time DH aside and found his own niche. It's one that perhaps no player will occupy again -- a player who doesn't play in the field but is actually worthy of being lumped among the highest-paid players in the game ... It is the kind of player we may never see again.


I don't understand this sentiment. "This'll never happen again." Why not? Is there something fundamentally different about the game now than way back in the mists of 2003, when Ortiz really got his career as a DH going? There's absolutely nothing preventing a career like Ortiz's, or Edgar's, from happening again. Shoot, the only reason there wasn't ANOTHER full-time DH for years at the same time as Ortiz was doing it is because that guy played on Ortiz's team.

When Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record, sportswriters and broadcasters reveled in digging up quotes from the '30s, laughing at the sportswriters who wrote that Gehrig's record would "never be broken." And then they'd turn around and assure us that Ripken's record would, you guessed it, never be broken.

Tom Glavine won his 300th game in 2007 and we were treated to endless columns about how we were unlikely to ever see another pitcher ever win his 300th game. Twenty-two months later Randy Johnson won his 300th game.
   84. Dan Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4120426)
If anything, with the current focus on defensive stats, even for LFers and 1Bmen, we're MORE likely to see a fulltime DH the next time a Jim Thome or Frank Thomas or Manny Ramirez comes to the majors. Hell, Billy Butler has been a fulltime DH from a young age already. He played a token amount of 1B and LF, not much more than Ortiz played.

Billy Butler, career games in the field: 330 (324 GS) at 1B, 6 (5 GS) in LF. Ortiz: 250 G @ 1B (238 GS).
   85. Dale Sams Posted: May 01, 2012 at 02:51 AM (#4120467)
Some douche from the Times cited one un-named (NYY fan?) source who said, supposedly, that he saw Ortiz's name on a list. Which contains like 25% false positive names anyway.


I believe he said, "He saw Manny and David's name on the list". I think Manny's reaction was to basiclly throw his hands in the air and say, "What are ya gonna do?" And when asked about Ortiz, "David will weather this fine." And then the PA said that Ortiz's name was indeed on the list.
   86. thok Posted: May 01, 2012 at 06:42 AM (#4120482)
Any hipsters want to come on here and say "I liked Ortiz back when he was still David Arias?"


Real hipsters liked David Ortiz when he was called Mo Vaughn.
   87. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2012 at 07:53 AM (#4120492)
Interestingly the Red Sox were taking a look at both of these guys as well.

Not only that, but Ortiz wasn't their fulltime DH when that season started. It was a strange platoon of Jeremy Giambi, Ortiz and ... I thought Ellis Burks but just a rotation of Millar and Manny. I see Burks was brought in 2004 to be a platoon DH but he was toast and didn't last long.

Anyway, somewhat similar to Napoli and the Rangers, it's not like the Red Sox thought they were getting DAVID ORTIZ. He got just 117 starts in that first year. Giambi got the opening day start and Ortiz started only 14 of the team's first 27 games and 28 of the first 53. He didn't really become full-time until July.
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4120496)
Not only that, but Ortiz wasn't their fulltime DH when that season started. It was a strange platoon of Jeremy Giambi, Ortiz and ... I thought Ellis Burks but just a rotation of Millar and Manny.
The 2003 Red Sox were using a crazy number of corner players at the start of the season. The thing you're probably remembering from that rotation is that Shea Hillenbrand and Bill Mueller were both under contract, and Hillenbrand started a bunch of games at 1B, pushing Millar or Giambi to DH, OF, or the bench.
   89. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: May 01, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4120510)
The 2003 Red Sox were using a crazy number of corner players at the start of the season. The thing you're probably remembering from that rotation is that Shea Hillenbrand and Bill Mueller were both under contract, and Hillenbrand started a bunch of games at 1B, pushing Millar or Giambi to DH, OF, or the bench.

IIRC at some point early on, May perhaps, Ortiz was playing so infrequently he requested a trade. As of July 1 that year he had only 5 home runs. Then he hit 5 in 3 games from July 3-5 and pretty much played the rest of the year.

Giambi got hurt and Shea got traded, which cleared up the playing time for Mueller, Millar, and Ortiz.

EDIT: I see that Walt has already addressed the playing time issue. Dammit.
   90. SandyRiver Posted: May 01, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4120519)
Shoot, the only reason there wasn't ANOTHER full-time DH for years at the same time as Ortiz was doing it is because that guy played on Ortiz's team.

Actually there was, and a very fine masher indeed, but Pronk couldn't stay healthy even without playing a position.
   91. donlock Posted: May 01, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4120570)
#16
Pedroia successfully "busted [Ortiz's] cookies." Funny for Pedroia. Not so much for Ortiz, who came off as petty after the whole ordeal.


"petty"?

I'll stick with "What a colossal dick."

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