Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Boston Red Sox Slugger Big Papi Is Surrounded & Supported By His Teammates

I read an article penned by the Boston Herald's John Tomase, who has been doing great work writing about the hometown team. His Wednesday piece concerns the Boston Red Sox DH, David Ortiz. I have a few thoughts that I'll express right after this.

3-for 22. A batting average of .136. Those are the "right now" stats for Boston's Big Papi David Ortiz going into tonight's game with the Twinkies in Minnesota. That's the bad news. The good news is that his teammates have his back and are giving him maximum support, support he needs. Full-time catcher Victor Martinez had this to say about that support...

“That’s why we call it a team,” Martinez said. “Everyone has to pick each other up. He’s going to be fine. Remember, he hit his first homer last year halfway through the season and ended up hitting 28. Not everybody can do that. And he drove in 99 runs. Not everybody can do that either."

Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan has been paying attention to his DH and here are his thoughts...

“He’s probably not seeing the ball very well,” Magadan said. “When you’re a little unsure of the strike zone and recognizing the pitches, you tend to get a lot of checked swings. More often than not, when you err on the side of being a little more aggressive, it lends itself to getting out of it. I think you can get too passive up there and end up taking some pitches you normally can put some pretty good swings on."

I have all the faith in the world for Papi to recover from this mini-slump, and that's EXACTLY what it is, and start hitting the ball on the nose with screaming power. That's the Papi every one of us knows and loves.

But Big Papi still has a heart, a HUGE one. Jeremy, a Boston fan from Missouri, went to Sunday's game in Kansas City with his family to see their favorite baseball team. His daughter, Jordan, almost three years old, was with her family. Oh, by the way,
Jordan's favorite player? Big Papi. After the game they were walking by the clubhouse. Papi had just finished up a FOUR strikeout game. Most players glumly walked by them but when little Jordon said "Big Papi!" Well, I'll let Jeremy tell the rest. My heart was touched. Here you go...

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"Several players made their way to the elevator without even a hello. Then emerged Ortiz, and instinctively my little girl says "Big Papi"! After a rough game and I am sure tough questioning, he stopped, turned around, and came over to my little girl. He spoke, signed a ball for her and left with at least one moment of a smile on his face.
Despite the weight of the 'Red Sox Nation' on his shoulders, he found a way to touch the life of a young fan that he will never know the importance of. In our eyes, he is a person to look up to and can only hope he finds the happiness he once had smacking the ball around the yard."

***************

I wish David all the luck in the world. Much like Jon Lester, he's having a bad start. Remember the date. It's only April 14th. The Sox have had more off days than they've had games. Once the regular routine settles in and the team plays six games per week, well, then I think we'll see Ortiz find his swing, making things, very good things, happen once more. I can wait...can you?

That's it for this Hump Day Wednesday. I have to pay my taxes today at 10am EDT and I'm not looking forward to it. But ten minutes in the accountant's office and it will ALL be over. Phew! Click on this post's title for more on the Sox, who have John Lackey going this afternoon at 1:10pm EDT (thank goodness!) and as always, be well.

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