Yankees Fans Will Be Glad to See the Back of David Ortiz
One of the most hated Yankees killers in history, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox, will play his final game against the club Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Fans of the New York Yankees are definitely in the minority around baseball in being happy to see Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz retire following the 2016 season. Big Papi is almost universally beloved outside of New York as one of the game’s most celebrated ambassadors and a larger-than-life figure recognized around the globe.
On the New York radio broadcast of the game Wednesday, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman told a story about how 22-year-old Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, who hails from the Dominican Republic, absolutely lit up when discussing his idol Ortiz and everything the 10-time All-Star meant to those in his native country.
Severino sounded like a little kid when he revealed the fact that Ortiz had promised to give him a signed bat as a souvenir before the conclusion of the series.
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What is most amazing about Ortiz is that he has showed absolutely no signs of slowing down with his 41st birthday coming up in November. He’s leading all of baseball with 48 doubles, a .622 slugging percentage, a 1.022 OPS, and 15 intentional walks in his final season.
This isn’t Derek Jeter being propped out at shortstop for a sad farewell tour, Ortiz remains a legitimate superstar.
In 242 career regular season games against the Yankees, Ortiz has hit .303/.394/.568 with 53 home runs. He played a pivotal role in Boston’s infamous come-from-behind victory in the 2004 American League Championship Series, going 12-for-31 with three home runs and being named series MVP.
Ortiz was crucial to ending Boston’s 86 year championship drought that year, and he would go on to collect three more rings over the next decade, ending the Yankees virtual hegemony in the AL East that extended back to the dynasty years.
While there are some who question Ortiz’s Hall of Fame credentials because he’s primarily been a DH and hasn’t had to play the field, he seems like a lock to get in. His postseason success really puts him over the top, giving him an edge over a guy like Edgar Martinez who just doesn’t have the same rich history associated with him.
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There will always be mixed feelings about seeing a hated rival retire. No one got under the skin of Yankees fans like David Ortiz. The rivalry with the Red Sox will lose a little of its fire without him next year.