David Ortiz, one of baseball’s biggest-ever icons, is hoping to sign off in a blaze of glory as the Boston Red Sox prepare to give him a six-month farewell tour, similar to former Yanks Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
On September 29, Big Papi will travel to New York for the final time to face his oldest foe. And the slugger has made a modest request to the Big Apple’s baseball-loving fans. “You know what I want most of all? I would love it if the fans at Yankee Stadium gave me a standing ovation,” he said.
The legendary Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry has been a one-sided affair over the last decade, thanks largely to the exploits of Ortiz, who has hit .306 with 47 home runs against New York in 224 regular season encounters. Yankees fans still get nightmares about the ALCS in 2004 when Ortiz hit several late-inning hits to rescue Red Sox from a 0-3 series deficit, all the way to the World Series title.
“The Yankees were the team to beat back then (before 2004). Being able to do what we did was something that was very special. It was career-lifting for me. People get to know you better, focus on you a little more. If you continue to be successful, you can build a career out of it,” said Ortiz. That championship victory, Boston’s first since 1918, started the era of Papi and the Red Sox. Ortiz led Boston to two more AL Pennants and World Series titles (2007 and 2013).
David Ortiz: Price makes us relevant…
Realistically, the Red Sox, who finished with a 78-84 record last season, aren’t going to compete in the forthcoming season. However, Ortiz is optimistic that he can get a triumphant send-off. According to Big Papi, the acquisition of David Price will help the team contend. “We need a guy like him,’’ Ortiz said of the ace pitcher. “We need an ace. They brought him in to try and win a championship here. In my case, I’m going to be his No. 1 supporter.’’
Sports fans will be turning out in large numbers to cheer for the Big Papi, chant his nickname and send him out with class. David Ortiz deserves nothing less.