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Big Papi's Clinton-inspired speech
David Ortiz has been a man possessed at the plate in this World Series, with eight hits in 11 at-bats (plus four walks), two home runs, five RBI and five of Boston’s 18 runs through the first four games.
But Papi’s greatest contribution to the Red Sox’s two victories may have come in the dugout, when the man they call “Cooperstown” rallied the troops in Game 4 and gave a rousing, Bill Clinton-inspired pep talk that maybe, just maybe saved Boston from the brink of elimination.
With the Sox trailing 1-0 Sunday, Ortiz led off the top of the fifth inning with a double. After back-to-back walks loaded the bases, Ortiz scored on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly — an accomplishment in and of itself for a man of Ortiz’s stature.
(By my count, Ortiz had scored on just nine sacrifice flies since the start of the 2011 season before Sunday’s game-tying run, which also happened to be the first time in Ortiz’s career that he scored on a sac fly in the playoffs.)
When Ortiz returned to the dugout, he was understandably pumped, so before the start of the next inning, he called his teammates over and dropped some knowledge on them while the competitive juices were still flowing.
“If you think we're going to come to the World Series every year, you're wrong,” Ortiz told reporters when asked to recall his ad-lib pow-wow.
“You know how many people we beat to get to this level, to this stage? A lot of good teams, a lot of good teams. That doesn't happen every year. I told them, it took me five years to get back to this stage. We had a better team than we have right now and we never made it. So take advantage of being here.”
According to Ortiz, himself, the impromptu lecture was inspired by none other than Clinton, the 42nd president in our nation’s fine history.
"I don't plan things," Ortiz said, according to WEEI. "I just say things when I feel like I have to say them. I'm very emotional when I talk. Bill Clinton made a lot of money with his speeches, and he changes a lot of lives with his speeches — he's a friend of mine by the way. I think people that listen act better than before."
And like his pal Bubba, Ortiz compels people to listen when he talks, and for good reason — the almost certain future Hall of Famer knows of what he speaks.
At 37 years old, Ortiz is the old guy on the Red Sox roster, but his experience carries weight, and his message to his teammates clearly took hold. In the sixth inning, Johnny Gomes blasted a three-run homer that scored Dustin Pedroia and — who else? — Ortiz. The dinger eventually proved to be the game-winner, and perhaps saved the Red Sox’s remarkable season.
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