Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz made his final goodbye to Red Sox Nation by leaving a heart-felt note on Twitter about his love for them and their city.
These words are not about statistics. One cannot find the right words to describe all of the intangibles that Ortiz has given the world, of baseball or otherwise, over his 20-year career. These words are merely the attempt to make some sense out of how much Ortiz has meant to so many different people.
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Ortiz himself took to Twitter and provided his own attempt:
The 40-year-old native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic does not think that he only has one home. When he carried the team and won the 2013 World Series, within a year of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing, he didn’t just strap guys like Dustin Pedroia on his back. Ortiz hoisted the entire city of Boston on his mighty shoulders and told them that his team included every single one of them.
The famous battle cry from the mound earlier that season, when many people felt their heads hang low, did more than just spur on cheers from the Fenway faithful. It solidified, it galvanized, it put resolve into his heart that when Boston bleeds then so does he.
Ortiz addresses Red Sox Nation directly in his letter, stating how he feels that they were with him every step of the way. Each championship wasn’t just his, they were won through the entire Nation’s efforts. Their cheers charged him and his teammates with the fire that was needed to claim victory, every time.
That’s nothing new for Ortiz, as he has spent decades trying to share the spotlight with his teammates. He provides hope for the future with mentioning the “young studs” who helped him get to the MLB postseason in his final year.
However, he did more than that. He shared television time, commercial time with his teammates, when it may have been easier to just keep all of the media attention on himself. Ortiz would often be seen hugging his teammates, during practice or even in the most intense in-game moments, sharing his wisdom and love for the game with each of his brothers on the diamond, no matter who they were. Young prospect, aging veteran, it didn’t matter.
Forget the numbers. Forget the championships. Forget the All-Star appearances. Forget the awards. It’s not like people call Ortiz Big Papi because of his batting average. Ortiz, first and foremost, makes a point of promoting what it means to be a man. Nothing to do with gender, but everything to do with being a member of the human race and what that actually should mean for people.
His charities, in the United States and abroad, are about his ideals, not some shameless self-advertising for a cause that can help his marketing persona. Every step that the man takes is about how he truly feels. There’s no wasted energy on falsehoods because he doesn’t have time for that. Ask the famous, beaten-down phone box that the Baltimore Orioles presented him with, after Ortiz had smashed it with a bat to express his displeasure. He isn’t one to hold back his thoughts and emotions, so what one sees is what one gets from Ortiz.
Combine that with a city known for its own use of expression and the truth to Ortiz is revealed. He’s a Bostonian, through and through. His heart bleeds Boston red in everything that he does. Every drop is used to express how he feels, never allowing anyone to sit in despair, constantly thinking about the future and living in the moment.
Ortiz once said that he never fears performing his duties for the Red Sox, no matter the situation. He relished it because each situation was a chance for him to make Red Sox Nation smile, whether that was to overcome the Curse of the Bambino or to brighten up a young, sick child’s day in the hospital.
Ortiz may have retired, but his letter is just one more example of how the job is never done. He wants the Red Sox and their fans to remember that they are Boston. Together, the people are the heart that pumps that blood in his veins, waking him up to a new day and a new challenge to overcome. His letter reminds all of us that our jobs will never be done and that we are all in it together. His advice has been charged to us that, as long as that passion pumps in us, it should drive us to overcome our own fears and cheer for what we all believe in, just like it did for Big Papi.