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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rosenthal: Sorry Papi, but we’re living in age of accusations

2012 comments? Good luck, Dayn!

There is no caution. There are no standards. But there are plenty of players — guilty and innocent — getting smeared.

Several times in recent weeks, radio talk-show hosts have asked me what I thought of the possibility that Ortiz was using PEDS.

The rationale for such questions?

The talk is “out there.”

Well, I have no idea if David Ortiz used PEDs; probably no journalist does. I could not even make an educated guess, and it would be unprofessional of me to do so.

Here’s one thing I do know: Before steroids, players actually declined as they got older. Ortiz is 33. Maybe he is losing his skills. Maybe he just stinks.

But who wants to talk about that?

I understand — this is the world we live in. Anyone can have a forum. Anyone can say anything. In some ways, it’s the ultimate freedom of the press. In other ways, it’s a new form of tyranny.

If I were an innocent player, I would fight back. But I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Repoz Posted: May 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, rumors, steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Essex Snead Posted: May 28, 2009 at 12:49 PM (#3197027)
Nice to see Robothal just "doing his job" by needlessly stirring a pot containing a dead horse he beat to death with Christgau's dick. Or something.
   2. Repoz Posted: May 28, 2009 at 12:54 PM (#3197030)
Christgau's dick

I give that a See Pus.
   3. AJMcCringleberry Posted: May 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM (#3197033)
He's not the first to write a "I'm not accusing the guy, but other people might be asking these questions about him" column.
   4. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 28, 2009 at 01:11 PM (#3197046)
"I'm not saying David Ortiz is a steroids-taking, sister-raping, kitten-murdering Communist Nazi terrorist, but..."
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 28, 2009 at 01:19 PM (#3197052)
Hey, I'm not saying Ken Rosenthal is a plagiarist and makes things up but he has spent a lot of time in New York. You know who else is in New York a lot? James Frey and Jayson Blair.

But I'm not saying Rosenthal is a plagiarist, I have no idea if he is. If Rosenthal were innocent he'd refute suggestions like this, so far he has not.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: May 28, 2009 at 01:25 PM (#3197056)
"I'm not saying David Ortiz is a steroids-taking, sister-raping, kitten-murdering Communist Nazi terrorist, but..." I've never seen him in the same room as Steve Garvey, if you get what I'm saying.
   7. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 28, 2009 at 01:33 PM (#3197068)
So I guess you guys are from the bolgger side of Robo's column, hunh?
   8. Famous Original Joe C Posted: May 28, 2009 at 01:49 PM (#3197087)
Back before the steroid era, fat sluggers never declined precipitously in their mid 30s.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:06 PM (#3197102)
Back before the steroid era, fat sluggers with severe wrist injuries never declined precipitously in their mid 30s.

Just adding an important qualifier.
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:10 PM (#3197108)
I don't see the problem here. Robothal says it is unfair that players are being smeared with no evidence. And everyone then reacts as if Robothal is smearing players with no evidence, because he addresses this issue at all instead of ignoring it.

People are starting to remind me of Democratic and Republican partisans, who go out there and say "You're playing into their hands by even talking about the gun issue. Every time it gets mentioned we lose votes."
   11. The Essex Snead Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:16 PM (#3197114)
Robothal says it is unfair that players are being smeared with no evidence.

Which is something that's been said and said again and restated enough times that there's no reason for a columnist with a national profile like his to write something that adds absolutely nothing to this discussion except the same old hand-wringing and halfassed "well, gee, it's just the way things are." It's middling crap like this that allows this witch hunt to perpetuate. Either take a stand and do / write something about it, or get off the damn pot and let someone that actually has a sh*t to give use it.
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3197119)
He's taking a stand against it. He didn't write the headline.

Remember, these guys have to write columns constantly and there isn't always something new to say.
   13. The Essex Snead Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:25 PM (#3197129)
Ha -- very true on both counts. And (here's a shocker) after reading the colum, Robo sounds a lot more forgiving than the excerpt (& headline) makes him sound. Just consider the above my "eff this ess" statemend wrt all this roid garbage. Tho, really, the powers that be need to stop trying to make "The Steroid Era" happen.
   14. Johnny Tuttle Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:36 PM (#3197149)
I, too, see Robo here taking a stand against attributing every little ding, nick, and sand in the hour glass to steroids. Why's that bad again?
   15. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:42 PM (#3197166)
I don't see the problem here. Robothal says it is unfair that players are being smeared with no evidence. And everyone then reacts as if Robothal is smearing players with no evidence, because he addresses this issue at all instead of ignoring it.
First, that's hardly a point that needs to be raised; it's not exactly original. Second, the paralipsis ruins any claim that it's meant as a defense rather than a smear itself. "It's unfair that people speculate about Ortiz without evidence. I would never do that, and they shouldn't either. Maybe he's using, maybe not. I'm not saying he is. I'm just saying that lots of people are saying that, and they shouldn't."

Here's how you deal with unfair, evidence-free gossip: you ignore it. Here's how you don't deal with it, if you're being honest: repeat it.
   16. BFFB Posted: May 28, 2009 at 02:44 PM (#3197170)
Because it does not facilitate teh snark
   17. Hector Moreda & The Generalissimo Posted: May 28, 2009 at 03:15 PM (#3197213)
David Ortiz is not on steroids. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, on steroids - but he is not a porn star.
   18. CFiJ Posted: May 28, 2009 at 03:37 PM (#3197242)
He didn't write the headline.
This.

I suspect if the headline on this article was "Papi steroid talk is unfair and unfounded", nobody would have a problem with the article itself.
   19. Sam M. Posted: May 28, 2009 at 03:50 PM (#3197255)
Here's how you deal with unfair, evidence-free gossip: you ignore it.

I'm afraid that is a deeply naive and ineffective tactic. Those who have the national platform are opinion-shapers, and I would argue they have the responsibility to do what they can with their ability to set the norms by which the conversation is carried on to make their case for what is legitimate and what is not. If Rosenthal and others like him ignore the reality that there is unfair, evidence-free gossip going on out there, they leave the playing field open to unfair, evidence-free gossip.
   20. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 28, 2009 at 04:15 PM (#3197274)
Sam, perhaps it says something about me that I can't tell whether that paragraph is intended to be ironic.

Assuming it's serious: no. It's a relatively well-established phenomenon that repeating an accusation, even to deny it, actually leads more people to believe it; they simply misremember the denial. If the accusation is so prominent that you can't raise its profile any more, then denying it might make sense. Otherwise, the best response is to ignore it. Rosenthal is giving it more prominence with his column, which has the opposite effect. People who had already heard the gossip and believed it without evidence are not going to be convinced by Ken Rosenthal saying, "But there's no evidence." As for those who hadn't, there are going to be some tomorrow saying, "Did you hear that Ortiz did steroids?" "Really?" "Yeah, I read a column saying something about it in the paper."
   21. MSalfino Posted: May 28, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3197278)
It was so much more fun back in the days when no one gave a crap what players put in their bodies. Of course, chewing tobacco is probably far worse than steroids and has proven health risks, but no one gives a crap about that. So don't tell me it's for the player's own good. There's a PHD they don't even test for, wink, wink, so why doesn't Ortiz just take that? Just hit some damn homers, Papi. Figure it out.
   22.     Hey Gurl Posted: May 28, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3197279)
So the question is, why are headline writers so incompetent? It seems like 890% percent of the articles on here, the headline is not even close to representing the article.
   23. The Marksist Posted: May 28, 2009 at 04:48 PM (#3197320)
David Ortiz is not on steroids. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, on steroids - but he is not a porn star.


I laffed. And really, if I can't laugh about Papi v3, I'll probably cry.
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 28, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3197539)
If Rosenthal and others like him ignore the reality that there is unfair, evidence-free gossip going on out there, they leave the playing field open to unfair, evidence-free gossip


The issue here is that unfair, evidence-free gossip (a) can be published quickly and (b) sells. And since the threat of a successful libel/slander suit by a public figure is virtually non-existent, there is nothing to restrain those who publish it.

-- MWE
   25. phredbird Posted: May 28, 2009 at 06:35 PM (#3197545)
So the question is, why are headline writers so incompetent? It seems like 890% percent of the articles on here, the headline is not even close to representing the article.


i'll take a crack at this. and i'm only going by my experience, so please don't hand my head back to me. headline writers at newspapers are on the copy desk. the writer never writes his headline. the copy editors read the article then write what they think fits based on their read, also they have to fit the space allotted to the headline. sometimes they read through, and nail it, other times not so much. and then you need to factor in the basic lack of nuanced knowledge about sports among copy editors, including even those IN the sports dept., and you can get this sort of thing. in my time on daily metros i was pretty shocked at how much sports dept. writers/editors pretty much didn't know much about the business of sports, statistics and peds, and how much other depts. didn't care.
   26. villageidiom Posted: May 28, 2009 at 06:56 PM (#3197582)
Sam, perhaps it says something about me that I can't tell whether that paragraph is intended to be ironic.

Assuming it's serious: no. It's a relatively well-established phenomenon that repeating an accusation, even to deny it, actually leads more people to believe it; they simply misremember the denial. If the accusation is so prominent that you can't raise its profile any more, then denying it might make sense. Otherwise, the best response is to ignore it.
I can only assume your post total is being held back a lot by your tendency to ignore accusations.
   27. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 28, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3197633)
He wasn't mentioned in the Mitchell Report, was he? That's gotta be a plus.
   28. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: May 29, 2009 at 05:50 AM (#3198329)
So the question is, why are headline writers so incompetent? It seems like 890% percent of the articles on here, the headline is not even close to representing the article.


They get paid to get people to click links (or buy papers) and nothing else. They aren't really incompetent, just dishonest. And probably PED users.

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