Sunday, January 31, 2016
THE PEOPLE VS. DAVID ORTIZ
I’ll go on the record; I really like David “Big Papi” Ortiz…off the field. I don’t remember too much about my days at the MLB Fan Cave, but I will fully admit that my time with the Red Sox slugger was something I’ll remember with a smile. David was not only friendly, but also funny and down to earth. He was up for the sketches we wrote for him and even roamed the streets of the Big Apple looking for hugs.
Towards the end of the year, at the World Series in fact, I ran into David at a MLB event and he greeted me like an old pal. I was surprised he remembered me. Basically I have nothing bad to say about what I know of Ortiz.
Unfortunately I can’t support the New York Yankee announcement that the organization will give Big Papi a big sendoff this year at the Stadium. Look, I understand and really admire the way the Boston Red Sox (Organization, players & fans) said goodbye to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. The whole operation was a first class act! It was done perfectly for both Yankee Greats and deservedly so. Should the same respectful ceremony be given to David? No. No, I don’t believe so at all.
There is no question that David Ortiz is an outstanding, clutch hitter and YANKEE KILLER. There is NO QUESTION that he has meant more to the Red Sox winning ways than any other player. In short David is an impact player and the Sox will miss him.
However Ortiz is NOT a Jeter or Rivera type. Papi has always been a “Me First” guy on the field and shown as much numerous times (The Baltimore dugout phone incident that got him a talking to by Pedroia). The countless bat flipping jogs to show up another team’s pitcher. The way he was not shy about ripping another player…name a time Jeets or Mo did ANYTHING like that…I’ll wait. No? That’s what I thought.
Look, I was never one to hold my tongue or not let emotion get away from me when I played competitive sports. I am not saying that guys/gals that do so are bad. All I’m saying is that that type player shouldn’t get honored. That should be saved for truly transcendent athletes who played the game the right way with class and selflessness. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are not just Yankees that are examples of what Big Leaguers should be.
And then there is the looming shadow of PED use when it comes to Big Papi. Do I know for certain that he used? Nope. But the only reason nobody is taking a closer look is because David uses his “Pap-ularity” to bully the league. He shouts down rumors and frankly was protected by the Selig Regime. The unfortunate fact seems to be that athletes from the Dominican Republic have what appears to be unlimited access to PEDs. It’s almost as if the “D.R.” stands for DAMN RIGHT they’re using. That is not an accusation on Dominican people. NOT. AT. ALL. There are countless players that hail from the Republic that NEVER took or would ever take HGH, Steroids and the like. But many do…Manny, Alex, Sosa (Those rumored to a possible link like Cano, Pujols and Bautista).
The bottom line is that David Ortiz is NOT in the same class with Jeter and Mo. Now, when Dustin Pedroia hangs them up I could see a nice goodbye from the Yankees.
Pedy is a leader, not a showboat and always said he takes so much from watching his friend Jeter on and off the field.
Is this a biased post? Sure, I guess so. But remember, I really do like Ortiz. I mean that. It isn’t personal in any way shape or form. He has made the rivalry better. He is an exciting player to watch. If I were a Sox fan, (LAWD HELP ME) I’d be a huge Big Papi fan, BUT I’d still think he didn’t deserve a farewell from the Bronx Bombers…and they Yankees should KNOW that too.
Sorry David. I wish you the best man.
** Here’s what should play over the Stadium PA when Papi takes his last AB in the Bronx **
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
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