Boston Red Sox all-time great David Ortiz made some interesting comments regarding fans of the New York Yankees. Some can’t tell if he’s serious.
By Robby Sabo
Think of an image, a man of great pride and recognition. Then think of humble, noteworthy actions that have endeared this person to the world he so casually lived in.
Men of this ilk in the baseball world come with attached names such as Ripken Jr., Aaron and Jeter. Guys like these came to the park everyday to perform under the bright, pressurized lights of Major League Baseball, never batting an eye while doing so. They did it while keeping it real, and humble.
Now, think of Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. He is the exact opposite of the image previously described.
If Jeter is ying, then Ortiz is yang. If Ripken is the bashful guy who didn’t want to take a lap following his 2,131st consecutive MLB start, Ortiz is the guy who’d build a moat and take a two-day trip around the field in a custom-made yacht.
Only a yacht would be fitting following what he told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post:
“You know what I want most of all?’’ Big Papi told The Post on Tuesday at JetBlue Park. “I would love it if the fans at Yankee Stadium gave me a standing ovation.’’
Worse than Kernan actually buying into this crap notion, that Big Papi deserves one last curtain call from the people of the Bronx, is the idea that a good majority of baseball fans actually feel he deserves it as well.
Let’s not sugarcoat things: This guy failed a drug test for performance-enhancing drugs. It shouldn’t matter that Ortiz and his camp didn’t want that failed test leaked to the public. It’s irrelevant that the results weren’t supposed to ever be revealed.
The heart of the of the issue reveals that Ortiz did, indeed, test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. And what’s worse is he never owned up to it. Instead, what we received was a barrage of attacks by the Boston slugger in defense of his self-perceived gold standard in-and-around Fenway Park.
His cleverly designed campaign to make him the “lovable big guy” has worked.
In New York we’re familiar with a different story. In this story we have the third-baseman who plays for the New York Yankees, who shall remain nameless for the time being. He was busted under the dark cloud of PEDs.
During the offseason of 2009, this guy came clean:
Did he come 100 percent clean? I’m sure he didn’t. That’s the equivalent of asking Michael Jordan how many times he gambled from 1990 through 1998. He’ll say a “few times” with a charming half-smile, while we know how serious it really was.
The point of the matter is he did come clean. He admitted the one most impossible thing as it concerns MLB sluggers of the last three decades. He admitted he wasn’t all natural.
No. 13 then went on his one wildly successful postseason run leading to his one World Series Championship.
Despite that one magical Autumn, he still isn’t revered in the Bronx – especially after the drama witnessed the last few calendar years.
In stark contrast, we have the tall tales of David Ortiz. Prior to the 2015 season, Ortiz decided to puff his chest out firmly.
“I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will,” Ortiz wrote.
Wrong. You failed a test in 2003. The report can be seen right here, courtesy of the New York Times.
Following the news of the 2003 failed test, which broke during the 2009 season, Ortiz responded quickly:
“Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance-enhancing substances. This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me.
“I want to talk about this situation and I will as soon as I have more answers. In the meantime I want to let you know how I am approaching this situation. One, I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.
“Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me — I will not hide and I will not make excuses.”
Five-plus seasons later and we still don’t know what that substance was – for which he vowed to share with the public.
Manny Ramirez was also outed on this list, yet we never heard a lick from him. He never denied anything or admitted guilt. He simply played on and was never revered or hated again.
Wrong, right or indifferent, Ortiz’s strategy has since worked. When that once hard-on-its-luck franchise was wrapping up its third World Series in 2013, Ortiz was enjoying the spotlight as a National Hero on baseball’s biggest stage.
That month served as Big Papi’s finest hour. The 37-year old Dominican Republican product hit a whopping 5 HR and 13 RBI in the playoffs en route to taking home World Series MVP honors.
He was the crowned prince of baseball that October, while the Yankees third-baseman was the villain who everybody wanted out of the game for tarnishing its good name.
Both men were so obviously linked to PEDs, yet one was a hero, the other a heel. Perhaps the difference was the campaign they each ran following their own unique PED-busting news. Maybe it was due to No. 13’s continuous bad look in the media concerning the issue at hand.
Whatever it was, both men were treated very differently.
Even today, folks like Kevin Kernan and David Ortiz, himself, wish to see Yankees’ fans provide one last (and first) standing ovation for the man Bostonians affectionately know as Big Papi.
They want this knowing how hypocritical their request actually is.
Will Fenway Park provide Alex Rodriguez a standing ovation during his last gasp? Will they respect the guy who’s bashed 687 career home runs? Will they be so humbly respectful to the guy who actually wanted to come to Boston during the offseason of 2004 (before if was so strangely rejected by the MLBPA)?
It’s hard to imagine so.
Those guys had class. Those guys didn’t campaign for their innocence. They went about their business and showed up to the park in a workmanlike fashion. These individuals never had to campaign.
David Ortiz in New York? No chance. He hasn’t earned the respect of the true baseball fan.
David Ortiz in New York? No chance, in the same fashion Alex Rodriguez in Boston doesn’t work, or even A-Rod in New York, for that matter.
What David Ortiz needs to realize is this one very important factor: His arrogance has now reached a point of no return. To actually ask for a standing ovation is something none of the Ripkens, Aarons, or Jeters of the world would ever do.
Those guys would simply go about their business and earn respect, not ask for it.
If only Minnesota Twins fans felt the same way about David Ortiz.