Following the Boston Marathon Bombings in April, David Ortiz informed Red Sox fans gathered at Fenway Park that “This is our fucking city and no body is going to dictate our freedom.” Wednesday night, Ortiz was able to demonstrate the truth of said statement to the St. Louis Cardinals after leading his team to their third World Series Championship in 10 years and earning MVP honors for himself.
When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, Manny Ramirez was the recipient of the MVP Award. And when the Red Sox once again captured the title in 2007, Mike Lowe received the ultimate praise. This time around, however, no one was going to deny Big Papi the prestige of being crowned MVP; not even the St. Louis Cardinals.
As Ortiz approached the plate for the first time Wednesday night, Cardinals’s catcher Yadier Molina turned to home-plate umpire Jim Joyce and proclaimed, “This guy’s unbelievable.” Molina would repeat the same sentiment during Ortiz’s last at-bat in the 8th inning when the game was already in-hand by chatting with the batter under his breath and giving him two “job well done” pats.
One knows that their performance has been outstanding when it is being recognized by the opposing team before the game is even over. Perhaps the biggest nod to Ortiz’s World Series performance was the fact that he drew a record-tying 4 walks in Game 6, 3 of them intentional: “I wasn’t trying to be the guy, but I know I got to get something done to keep the line moving. I don’t even have to do anything today, I guess, the rest of the team took over.”Not since Barry Bonds has a player been able to lead his team to victory by being consistently walked.
Fortunately for the Red Sox (and very unfortunately for St. Louis), the Cardinals did attempt to pitch to Ortiz earlier in the series. Out of the 16 chances Ortiz had to take a swing, he connected 11 times (.688 average), resulting in 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. In total, Ortiz reached base 19 times during the series – a mark only eclipsed by Barry Bonds in the 2002 World Series (Bonds reached base safely 21 times).
Ortiz contributed more than just hit bat towards the Red Sox’s effort, though. During a pivotal moment in Game 4, with the score even at 1-1 and the Red Sox trailing the Cardinals 2-1 in the series, Ortiz decided it was time to give the team a pep-talk: “It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher. He got everyone’s attention and we looked him right in the eyes. That message was pretty powerful,” stated Red Sox left-fielder, Jonny Gomes, who appreciated Ortiz’s message so much that he delivered the game-winning 3-run homer minutes later.
So what did the great orator have to say? Apparently, Ortiz simply told the team to relax, stay loose, and appreciate the moments. Due to the respect and clout that Ortiz carries within the Red Sox organization and city of Boston, that was all he needed to say.
And following his 3 World Series victory Wednesday night, Ortiz had one simple message for the fervent Fenway fans:
What more need the World Series MVP say?
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