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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thanks for Everything, Big Papi

Clearly everyone that calls themselves a sportswriter, blogger, reporter, author etc in New England (or with ties to these six wonderful states) has chimed in with the token David Ortiz farewell piece at this point since he announced his retirement last winter. Still, seeing him officially play his final game ever for the Red Sox tonight at Fenway Park (that sounds so weird to say) as they were swept by the Indians in the 2016 ALDS, I couldn't help but feel like I should chime in with a few thoughts of my own.

Like a great song, album, TV show or movie, the best athletes and teams always have a special way to transfer us back to a unique time in both their careers and as a fan, in our own collective minds. Big Papi anonymously joined Boston in 2003 (which seems like a lifetime ago) and by now, he's carved out his place not only in Boston sports history-as the most clutch Red Sox ever-but in MLB as well. Name another pro athlete that is more universally beloved, I'll wait. For a sport that is all about individual accomplishments not to mention filled with too many hardos and rednecks, Ortiz was always a breath of fresh air with an enormous smile permanently etched on his face.

He was the best Red Sox in my lifetime and I feel confident in saying that sadly we'll never see another player like him (for many reasons). For a native of the Dominican Republic, he reached such a mythical level that he basically became a member of all our extended families. He appealed to every age (from children to grandparents) and demographic (rich or poor) and while he was larger than life on the field (especially in the unbelievable postseason performances), he still seemed like an actual human being as he won three World Series titles in Boston (2004, 2007, 2013).

The dream scenario was obviously to see him go out on top once again but it wasn't to be. Such is life. However, nothing will ever diminish all the sheer joy and fun that he brought to our lives for the last 13 years. We can only hope that he sticks around the Red Sox in the future with a front-office job. He has become such a part of the fabric of this region that it would be a shame to see him move elsewhere. I won't rattle off the best moments in his Red Sox career since they're so widely known but at the same time, we all have our own memories of him that are singularly important to us. In short, he was everything to everyone and that's why there will never be another David Ortiz.

You are the best, Big Papi. You will always hold a special place in all of our hearts, forever. Don't be a stranger!

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