The Boston Phoenix’s Adam Reilly stresses he doesn’t believe the Boston Globe sports dept. is in the pocket of the Boston Red Sox, but he is quick to cite the daily paper and baseball franchise sharing the same (partial) ownership, along with the Olde Towne Team being undoubtedly good for the Globe’s bottom line (“the Globe’s online store, for example, features 60 pages of Sox merchandise”). All of which presents enough conflicts real and imagined as is, but after the Globe followed the Times’ Michael S. Schmidt naming and shaming David Ortiz with a report about the Red Sox firing a pair of security workers for alleged steroid involvement (one of them the son of ailing broadcaster / former 2B Jerry Remy), Reilly wonders, “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?” Has anyone asked Manny Alexander for his take on all of this? From Reilly’s most recent “Don’t Quote Me” column.
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.
Maybe the Globe’s sportswriters simply didn’t know this stuff was going on. Maybe they did, but wanted to protect Jerry Remy, who’s currently fighting lung cancer and is on indefinite leave. Or maybe they didn’t think that digging into possible PED use by Sox stars was part of their job. Whatever caused this story to slip through, it was a costly whiff by the hometown squad.