There’s an interesting collateral detail in Richard Sandomir’s NYT look at the rookie year of The Players’ Tribune. When March 26 essay “The Dirt” was added to the Derek Jeter portal by editor-at-large David Ortiz, it hit the Red Sox paper of record in the gut:
Within a half-hour of Ortiz’s post being published, the Boston Globe rushed onto its website a similar article, the product of an interview Ortiz gave March 11 to one of its reporters, Bob Hohler. That piece had been held since last week so it could be the centerpiece of the Globe’s Major League Baseball preview April 5.
“When he [Hohler] filed it, we were wary,” said Joseph Sullivan, the Globe’s sports editor. “I worried about ESPN or Yahoo or the Boston Herald somehow doing a similar story. But I didn’t think about The Players’ Tribune.”
Sullivan added: “Thursday night was not a good night for me.”
The Ortiz article was the byproduct of a site producer connecting recently with Big Papi at Red Sox training camp. It’s also, despite the byline, a piece that was molded by the Tribune from a recorded interview. According to the site’s editorial director Gary Hoenig, Jeter – per usual – reviewed the Ortiz item before publication and asked questions.
In the Tribune piece, there’s also this passage, which in the wake of the Globe rug-pull might fuel a few theories about Ortiz’s motivations:
In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from the Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, “You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?”
He’s saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I’m like, I’m Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?
I wanted to kill this guy. But you can’t react. That’s what they want. They want you to get angry so they can bury you. So I just smiled at him and asked for his address.
“Why do you want my address?” he said.
“Because I just got tested two days ago.” I said. “I’ll mail you the f****ing results.”
This is a reporter from my own city coming to my locker and telling me I’m too good, that I must be on some shit.
Ortiz is referring here not to Hohler but rather Dan Shaughnessy, who – per the second image above – has responded today with an eviscerating “Open Letter.” The sportswriter, after pointing out that his hair is neither red nor jheri-rigged, rifles off some monstrous bullet points of his own.
[Screen grabs via: theplayerstribune.com, bostonglobe.com]