David Ortiz, never unable to vocalize his emotions, stated publicly he would love a standing ovation from Yankees’ fans when his time comes at the end of this season. Since he’s the author of many Yankees’ fans pain over the years and he’s a Red Sox, the somewhat innocent (but of course, tactless) request has made its rounds with some people losing their minds in the process.
So let’s clarify a few things about the situation.
- David Ortiz is a first ballot Hall of Famer based on his numbers. He is without a doubt a top two and very possibly the best, designated hitter to ever live in the 40 years or so the position has been around.
- Ortiz is a three time World Series champion for a franchise who went an embarrassingly long 86 years without one until he came rolling into town. And in all of those World Series runs, he played a major role because he is one of the best playoff hitters to ever walk the earth.
- Ortiz was allegedly on a 2003 report of players who failed tests for steroids with his (then) teammate, Manny Ramirez. It was a nice reprieve for Yankees’ fans since the original “Mitchell Report”, with most of its testimony from a Yankees’ clubhouse attendant, mainly named Yankees’ players in the report. It created a false sentiment with idiotic fans of other teams the Yankees “juiced” the most (despite steroids of the era allegedly originating on the west coast) when the reality is the testimony came from within its own clubhouse and the Yankees had teams of mainly players who came from other locations first and didn’t magically put up all star numbers there without help only to come to the Bronx and find it in a magical clubhouse of needles. Now the narrative is “everyone was doing it”. Funny how accusations work.
- With that said, we will never know for sure Ortiz juiced because those names were supposed to be sealed and so therefore nobody could really look further into detail of why he failed that drug test. Ortiz, at the time, seemed determined to find out why and 13 years later he never seemed to state a reason. It must be hard to make phone calls when you’re mashing so many home runs.
- With all of that said, it’s pretty clear unlike guys like Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez, who admitted to taking some form of steroids and unlike guys like Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and Ramirez who denied its accuracy because of specific reasons, Ortiz probably still did steroids and will never have to explain it or deny it.
- But because most of the best players for an entire generation also did them, today it’s OK to treat him like nothing happened.
- That’s not just my opinion. Barry Bonds and Mark Mcgwire are hitting coaches now. They’re not banned like Pete Rose. The Yankees have already reversed the opinion of not celebrating A-Rod’s home run milestones, essentially deeming those lawsuits irrelevant to begin with. It’s pretty clear MLB as a whole feels enough time has passed and they were so incompetent, that they’re just going to move past things and pretend nothing happened because money is on the line again.
- So because all of these things have happened over the years, Yankees fans are a little upset. And regardless of if Ortiz did steroids, he’s still not Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. Those two won five world championships, and one played the field and will go down as a top two at his position with countless moments more than Ortiz in the playoffs while the other one is likely a cyborg who will go down as the greatest pitcher in playoff history, with 100% of his appearances coming in high leverage, playoff situations.
So why is all of this worth rehashing? Yankees fans shouldn’t give David Ortiz a standing ovation because he’s the Red Sox version of Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter.
Because he’s not.
He’s closer to the Red Sox version of A-Rod if A-Rod was smarter about cheating and less of a blatant liar and more of a fun liar throughout his career. Because if it were Ortiz who got caught and didn’t have his proof get sealed in court documents, it would be Ortiz suing everyone under the sun and instead of an ambassador he would be a pariah only beloved in Boston and with three times the rings A-Rod thus far.
Ortiz should be given a standing ovation because he almost single-handedly renewed the rivalry, and though obnoxious because of its other team’s successes, he almost single-handedly changed Boston and the entire Red Sox franchise’s fortunes for the rest of existence.
David Ortiz was Boston when the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry, over the course of the past 90 years or so, was at arguably its best.
He balanced the playing field and made this thing official after years of the Yankees always winning the battle and decades of winning the war.
David Ortiz is the reason we hate Boston in the present day and that deserves a lot of respect. And he couldn’t reach that level if he weren’t a really special hitter.
Special players, in the Bronx, get standing ovations. It’s a rule.
Ortiz is no exception.