Yeah, he had an outstanding year at the plate too. Slugging 30 home runs, driving in 103 and hitting a robust .309, Ortiz was the glue that held the Red Sox offense together as they earned their eighth world championship in team history. Ortiz’s ability to rise to any on-field occasion is one of the biggest reasons he has played a crucial role in securing three championships over his 11 years on the Back Bay.
His ability to learn how to hit to the opposite field during the twilight of his career says volumes about his desire to win. The weight loss over the last few years has increased his bat speed and his eye at the plate compares to Wade Boggs and Ted Williams.
Did we mention his ability to hit in pressure situations and his hitting .688 in the World Series, winning the Most Valuable Player Award?
There is a difference between player of the year and man of the year, however, and Ortiz’s contributions off the field made him the only serious candidate to consider for 2013.
He comes across as the class clown. Can you imagine spending a night on the town with him? Ortiz also has a bit of a diva streak in him. At 37, Ortiz is well past the stage of his career where he owes anybody anything.
Yet, it was Ortiz during the sixth inning of Game 4 of the World Series that pulled his team aside and inspired them. Down two games to one, and coming off a loss the night before on an obstruction play, his teammates rode his back and they swept the St. Louis Cardinals afterwards.
Ortiz never has come across as the grizzled veteran willing to offer sage advice to anyone seeking it. On that night, however, he did not mock them or chide them, he encouraged and inspired them. Boy, did they ever return the favor.
Nope, that is not the primary reason he is our Man of the Year.
This is, and it is not safe for work:
When a city needed to heal. When for the first time in over 100 years, the Red Sox played a game at home with “BOSTON” written across their chests and not “RED SOX”, it was David Ortiz, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, said to a region gripped with sorrow the words we all needed to hear:
“THIS IS OUR F—–G CITY!”
There was not another athlete who could have dropped an f-bomb so perfectly, and there is not another city that who could have perfectly grasped what he had to say.
It is hard to imagine that a person with a healthy sense of self-worth such as Ortiz has no real idea of what he means to New England. It is not the clutch hits, or the championships or towering home runs, it is his ability to be the brother and uncle to a generation of Red Sox fans that puts his legend on the same level as Williams, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird and Robert Kraft.
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