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Did the Globe drop the steroid ball?
By ADAM REILLY  |  August 7, 2009


On July 30, the New York Times revealed that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez — heroes of the Red Sox' 2004 and 2007 World Series wins — are on the (supposedly) secret list of a hundred-plus major leaguers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in 2003.

Three days later, the Boston Globe followed with a Sox shocker of its own. According to a Spotlight investigative-team story that was six weeks in the making, the Sox fired two security workers for involvement with steroids last September — one of whom was Jared Remy, the implausibly ripped son of Jerry Remy, the former Red Sox second baseman who now does team broadcasts for the New England Sports Network. (NESN is partially owned by the Sox, and thus by the New York Times Co., which owns part of the Sox' parent company and all of the Globe.) Prior to the firings, Major League Baseball launched an investigation into possible Sox PED use.

Impressive as the Globe article was, it also raised some questions. Why did it take the Globe the better part of a year to report on a bona fide steroid scandal that was brewing in its back yard? And whether that delay was caused by chumminess or cluelessness, did it cost the Globe a rare chance to rewrite Red Sox history?


According to Globe editor Marty Baron, the Times was practically destined to break the story of Ortiz and Ramirez's presence on "the list." "Anything is possible, of course, if you devote enough time and resources to a subject," says Baron via e-mail. "The Times has had one or two reporters covering the subject of performance-enhancing drugs for a very long time." Given the demands on the Globe's newsroom, he adds, this wasn't something the Globe could replicate.

Still, Sunday's story suggests that the Globe — had it acted more quickly and more aggressively — might have gotten to Ortiz's, as well as even Ramirez's, past PED use first.

Recall, for example, that "Big Papi" was a serviceable player with the Minnesota Twins, but morphed into a latter-day Lou Gehrig (complete with a beefy new physique) after coming to Boston in 2003. In May 2007, he told the BostonHerald that he might have unwittingly used steroids in the past. And in February 2009, the New York Daily News reported that Ortiz had a relationship with banned trainer Angel Presinal, who also worked with steroid scapegoat Alex Rodriguez. These facts weren't unreported by the Globe, but they didn't cause great consternation, either. (Former columnist Jackie MacMullan in May 2007: "The only connection between Ortiz and steroids is that he is a very big man and he hits very big home runs. And that's not fair.")

Now note that, in Sunday's Globe story, Jared Remy recalled swapping steroid techniques with Ortiz's former personal assistant. That's a bombshell of a claim. And if it had been unearthed after Remy's firing last fall, it could have been the catalyst for a broader, groundbreaking look at PED suspicions involving Ortiz and others. Ditto the fact that the other fired employee, Nicholas Cyr — who was busted with steroids at Wollaston Beach in July — ran errands for Ramirez.

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8 Comments / Add Comment

Rick Mc

How about blaming both the Globe and the Herald?  Both of the their staffs should have noticed that the enormous son of Jerry wasn't around anymore.  

And you characterization of Ortiz is way off base.  He was a very highly regarded power hitting prospect in the minors, he was told to alter his hitting style by the Twins when he reached the majors, and, based on his rate stats, his power numbers with the Red Sox was unthinkable.  

Posted: August 06 2009 at 3:54 PM

Rick Mc

 his power numbers with the Red Sox were not unthinkable.  Shouldn't drink and post. 

Posted: August 06 2009 at 4:42 PM


Oh please Rick.  To believe that he didn't produce in Minnesota because the Twins had an organizational philiosphy that discouraged power and encouraged hitting to the opposite field is the height of naievete.

 The anecdotal evidence prior to the NYT story were convincing enough - the positive test was the nail in the coffin. 

Posted: August 06 2009 at 4:54 PM

Rick Mc

I don't make allegations that somebody was juicing and possibly breaking the law based on anectdotal evidence.   Do you know Ortiz's minor league numbers?  Do you know his rate stats with the Twins?  Do you know the typical performance progression of MLB players?



Posted: August 07 2009 at 7:15 AM


Yeah I do...and Big Papi's don't follow that progression. 

Posted: August 07 2009 at 3:21 PM


Yeah I do...and Big Papi's minor league numbers did not indicate whatsoever that he would be a part of the most dangerous 1-2 combination arguably since Ruth and Gehrig.

 Just use common sense - if his minor league numbers were so indictative of a power hitter that could produce 50 home runs in a season - why was there so few teams willing to sign him after his release from the Twins?

Posted: August 07 2009 at 3:32 PM

Johnny Transistor

What in hell is the big deal, or better yet, what do you expect from these men? I look at it this way. Guys like D-Man, The Uke and Pee Wee are not just good Red Sox players, they are great Sox players. Great players who are expected to be at 100% of their game, every game. But good luck to that, these guys have no down time. They play almost every day and when they do get a day off they are in the dugout in another city with their team cheering their team mates on. Not many men can travel like they do, living out of a suitcase for weeks on end like pursued felons. Going to bed on greasy hotel food only to wake up to the stench of hotel room coffee. Yikes, my coffee tastes better than that trash and I use NoName Instant. They are away from their families most of the time and if a family member is ill or having trouble in school they are expected to suck it up like men and forget about it. Just step up to the plate and blast that little round thing into orbit each and every time. When they do, they are heros, but when they don't and are in the middle of a 14 game slump, the bums are rumored to be traded. That must make them feel so much better. Yeah, maybe the big guy wails on the juice. But come to think of it, don't the members of the Rolling Stones injest all kinds of illegal concoctions just so they can make it to the end of the tour. A much shorter tour than the Boys of Summer have to endure I must add. Isn't baseball entertainment? And if it is, why are rock groups like Motely Crue idolized for their debauchery and the Boys of Summer hunted like chain gang escapees every time one of their own seems to be much stronger this season than last. I've heard commentators say that very thing........"Say Bob, doesn't Tarzan look a bit bigger and seem a lot stronger to you this season than he did last season? Why do you suppose that is?"  Bob, in his infinite wisdom mutters a really intelligent response like, "Gee Dave, I think you're right. Why do you suppose that is?" It's like listening to a conversation between Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote after falling down 30 flights of stairs on your head and are trying to make sense of what the paramedics are asking you as images of Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff rattle around inside your head. Just what are we asking the heros of our National Sport to do? Maybe if we asked less, we'd get more. But what we should really do is treat everyone the same. If the Feds want to go after big Papi then they should go after Motely Crue as well. And while they're at it the Feds should do random drug tests on all baseball commentators as well. No one in their right mind would ever hire anyone as dumb as some of these guys are, unless.......nah, do you think that baseball commentators make model airplanes in their spare time?      


Johnny Transistor,

August 9, 2009

Posted: August 09 2009 at 9:08 AM

Rick Mc

 Then George Foster must have been on roids because his 50-HR season came out of nowhere.  

 David Ortiz was a very highly regarded prospect (two seasons with at least 30 HR's, which is rare in the minors now)before making the Twins and being yanked around.   The Red Sox took a flier, but there was talent there and the Red Sox let Ortiz hit like he can, unlike the Twins.  

Posted: August 10 2009 at 3:03 PM
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