For years, Boston Red Sox icon David Ortiz tormented the New York Yankees by unfurling his hands on inside fastballs and flinging them deep into the right-field seats, Fenway bullpen, or fuming fans in the Bronx.
Now? Let's just say we think Mike Mussina could probably sneak one into his kitchen and find the catcher's mitt.
The beloved Big Papi played his signature role in a gender reveal over the weekend, swaggering and grabbing the bat, ready to drill either a blue or pink baseball into the stratosphere. Only ... it didn't exactly go the way it had from 2003-2016, when he was the most devilish Yankees enemy in the game.
Instead, it went the way we often wished it would during Ortiz's heyday, when he was constantly lining walk-off singles to change postseason trajectories, all while desperately searching for the pesky culprit who put his innocent name on MLB's leaked list of positive PED tests in 2003. Hey, you think he and A-Rod ever talk about that on set at FOX? How they both appeared on the same anonymous survey test, but only Rodriguez faced any repercussions or reputational dings? Could be an interesting conversation.
Anyway, here's Ortiz absolutely whiffing on a lobbed pitch, resulting in an explosion of blue confetti and a rolling, untriggered baseball.
Yankees enemy David Ortiz strikes out on Gender Reveal
Unlike whenever the topic of steroids was broached during his retirement tour in 2016, Ortiz is unlikely to get a pass from Commissioner Manfred on this one. Gonna just have to wear the whiff.
Look, we get it. When you've been out of the game for seven years, the eyes start to play tricks on you. Plus, anyone who's ever hit a baseball can tell you that it can be weirdly harder to hit a lob than a center-cut fastball. It's just not what you're accustomed to.
It still remains deeply shocking that Papi, at 40 years old, followed through on his preseason retirement promise after hitting an absolutely ridiculous .315 with a league-leading 48 doubles, 127 RBI, .620 slugging and 1.021 OPS. But hey, who can blame him? He had more important things to do. Things like, "Whiffing on a Meatball Like Late-Career Travis Hafner."