Boston, rejoice. Our hero, our champion, our icon is BACK. The Red Sox made a deal to “link him with the organization forever.” Forever. We get David Ortiz forever. Are you crying? I am.
Now it’s true, David Ortiz will not be suiting up, per se; 34 will continue to be a retired number. But Papi will be back doing one of the things that he does best and that makes him so special: he’ll be mentoring the players.
A deal of this sort is unprecedented but also unsurprising. I’ve known for a while that the Red Sox were trying to keep Ortiz around in some capacity, and I’m elated that they came to an agreement to bring him home. It only reinforces the opinion that Papi is one of the most special players to ever grace Fenway Park; he’s been gone less than a year and he’s already back.
I’ve been saying since Opening Day (read the post if you don’t believe me) that one of the things this team has been lacking is the leadership and guidance of David Ortiz. No one else stepped up in his absence – not that anyone could really come close anyway. Papi brought more to the clubhouse than just a powerful swing. He set an example to and gave younger players advice. Remember Hanley pre-Papi? Clearly, the Red Sox agree with me, because they’ve inked a deal with the legend to act as a “mentor for current players, participate in recruitment efforts, make a variety of special appearances for the club, and work in a business development capacity for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.” (MLB.com)
David Ortiz has been my favorite player since I was a little girl, and with good reason. He’s so much more than his baseball talent because of his huge heart and his devotion to his team, the game, and to this world. He means so much to this city, and it’s clear that we mean a lot to him too. Just thinking about him being around, being a part of the organization once again, being part of the magic of Fenway Park and the Red Sox, to say I’m emotional would be an understatement. For me, the Red Sox just feel more like the Red Sox when David Ortiz is around. John Henry called him family, and maybe I’m naive or sentimental, but I really think that in Papi’s case, it’s true. David Ortiz is the kind of player who truly loves his team, enough to retire and come back in the same year.
To those of you who say, it’s a vanity job, a title, some kind of gimmick, who the hell cares? Also, this is David Ortiz we’re talking about. The man played until he was forty, won us three World Series rings, reversed the damn curse, hit 11-for-16 (.688) in the 2013 World Series (when the rest of the Red Sox hit a collective .169 FWIW), and helped Boston heal after the Marathon Bombing. Half-assing it isn’t really Papi’s style. I doubt he’s going to come back and just sit on his ass drinking Dunkin Donuts, but if that’s what he wants to do, I’ll still be glad he’s even around. His presence elevates the franchise regardless. If you want me to keep going on about why this man should be around in any way he can, I can go all night. Don’t mess with me when it comes to Big Papi.
To the rest of the MLB, get ready. If you can, anyway. How do you prepare for an icon making a triumphant comeback? You can’t. With David Ortiz guiding our young talent once again, forget the sky; the limit no longer exists. He has years of experience, boundless talent, fiery passion, and a love for this franchise and city that is virtually unparalleled in baseball history.
Get excited, Boston. I feel good things coming. Congrats to the Indians on 21 straight W’s, but I’m pretty sure the Red Sox are the big winners today.
We missed you, Papi. Welcome home.