Werner objects to media treatment of Ortiz

BOSTON -- Red Sox chairman Tom Werner took the highly unusual step of submitting a written response to the Boston Globe objecting to a column written by the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy in which he wrote that designated hitter David Ortiz was suspected of using steroids.

Werner also complained of allegations made by Blue Jays broadcasters Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurt against Clay Buchholz last week that the Sox pitcher was throwing a spitball.

"You fit all the models," Shaughnessy said he told Ortiz in a column published Tuesday in the Globe and on the newspaper's website. "You are from the Dominican Republic. You are an older player. Older players don't get better. You've had injuries consistent with steroid use. You showed up on the list from 2003. You fit all the formulas."

Werner's response, in addition to being sent to the Globe, was also published on the team's website, redsox.com, Friday afternoon. Here's an excerpt:

Wednesday, the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy suggested that David Ortiz might be using performance-enhancers because "it is not natural for a guy to hit .426 out of the gate."

He said that David's 27-game hitting streak was suspect, in part, because older players "do not get better" and, most disturbing to me, because he is from the Dominican Republic.

The story soon became Topic A on talk shows, on ESPN.com and on NESN. In fact, Wednesday night, Tim Wakefield was drawn into the conversation and tried to restore order by saying, "I'm tired of people pointing fingers because somebody is doing well. David is producing because he is a great hitter."

The swirling story prompted Ortiz, after going 0-for-5, to tweet, "End of my hitting streak tonight, the season still going and I hope Dan Shaughnessy is a happy man now. ... Not more .426 enjoy it."

Earlier last week, a Toronto radio host accused Clay Buchholz of doctoring pitches. He made this claim despite the fact that no Major League player that Buchholz faced this April had made any such suggestion regarding how Clay had pitched this year. Instead of Boston celebrating Buchholz's 1.60 ERA, we had to read and hear these charges, which went viral. Clay was naturally frustrated and had to issue this comment, "To have somebody say that I'm out there cheating is doing me an injustice."

I fully acknowledge the right the media has to ask difficult questions and to express controversial opinions. Freedom of the press is fundamental in our culture.

They had the right, but was it right?