Then my phone started buzzing. Then it kept buzzing and buzzing. Looking up at the flat screen televisions around the room I realized why. Across the bottom of the NESN pre-game show told how the New York Times was reporting that David Ortiz had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003. I figured all hell would break loose around the stadium. I was wrong.
After successfully chaperoning the Cape League All-Stars through their pre-game ceremony, I headed up to the press box, making good use of one of the few times a year I’m able to get media credentials from the Red Sox. I was expecting the media level to be buzzing. It wasn’t. It was remarkably calm. And then it hit me. Maybe, finally, reporting on steroids had jumped the shark. Unless someone comes out with all 100 plus names on the much talked about 2003 positive test list, their really isn’t going to be all that much buzz, no shock, no nothing. Sure Dan Shaughnessy will spit out some boring, played out column about how Ortiz should be ashamed and how he lied to Red Sox Nation and how Boston’s two World Series championships are tainted. (In his defense, I never actually got beyond the title of his Ortiz article, I refused to read anything by him a long time ago, but I assume that’s how the column went.)
In the press box, seats we aplenty, the only banter going on was former Red Sox player and current radio/television talking head Lou Merloni explaining how he only hit 14 career home runs. Most of all, there was really no buzz.
While I’ll admit that I don’t often frequent major league press boxes, I do have a point of comparison. Last year, I was at Manny Ramirez’s last game as a member of the Red Sox. There was buzz, there were rumors, there were beat writers talking about where, when, and if Manny Ramirez would finally be traded. First it was Manny to the Marlins, then something involving the Pirates, and it turned out that Manny didn’t get dealt until much later the next day. But there was excitement; it had the vibe of big news. I felt none of that last Thursday.
Even in this era of 24-hour news cycles, while the Ortiz news certainly dominated headlines, it seemed as though everyone, even those covering the sport, seem bored with steroids, especially in the manner that names trickle off this 2003 list and into the public domain. Sure, using PEDs is dirty, but the shock value of steroid news is gone, for everyone.