If you’re not familiar with David Ortiz, and what he’s done for the Red Sox, what exactly are you doing here? The most clutch player in Red Sox history (he has the trophy to prove it), he’s been leading the Red Sox since 2003. He will forever live in Red Sox lore for what he did for the 2004 World Champions.
I’ve never personally been a huge David Ortiz fan. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a heckova player. I love watching him hit. But, he’s always been a little bit too crass and crude for my liking. I would never have listed him as a favorite player because of it. The “Big Papi” persona always seemed to be in contrast to the other stuff. But, he’s still been a lot of fun to watch over the years.
My closest personal encounter with Ortiz was at an autograph signing at a local BCS. I waited in line for an hour in order to get his signature. It was a lot of fun waiting in line, meeting and talking with the people stuck there with me. When I got to the front of the line, to speed things along (I guess) I wasn’t allowed to hand my item to Ortiz myself. I handed it to a store employee who gave it to Ortiz. Unfortunately, there was a large group in front of me. There were five or six people in line, but only one item was being signed. By the time they had gotten themselves together to be on their way, Ortiz was done signing my item, and was actually trying to hand it to someone in the group. I had to run up and grab the item. By that point, Ortiz was already on to the next item. So, I didn’t even get to say thank you. It wasn’t Ortiz’s fault, of course. But, I would imagine that if he were actually engaged in the signing, and not just throwing his name on whatever was shoved in front of him, he would have been more on the ball. He was clearly just going through the motions. Which is not a complaint. I didn’t pay for a chance to spend five minutes chatting. I paid for an autograph. That’s exactly what I got. It just wasn’t “Big Papi.”
What about the coming years? What will Ortiz’s role be with the Red Sox in 2012 and beyond? I don’t know. I know that I’d like him to be on the team. I can’t imagine the line-up next year without him. He’s clearly the best DH available, and would add value to any team. My feeling is that the Sox will give him more value than other teams. So, I see him back with the Sox for the next few seasons. Hopefully.
Happy 36th Birthday David Ortiz!