It wasn’t the way they would have wanted it to happen, but for the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz and the fans that love the designated hitter who is now finished with baseball after his team was swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Indians, at least it ended at Fenway Park.
Ortiz, Big Papi or simply Papi to the Sox fans who crammed the “lyric little of a ballpark,” as John Updike famously put it in his own goodbye to another Boston great, Ted Williams, will go down as one of the team’s greatest players. Three World Series wins, including the curse-breaking 2004 victory that Ortiz was so instrumental in, a World Series MVP, 10 trips to the All-Star game, over 500 home runs and basically the gold standard for designated hitters, any talk of Ortiz not deserving a spot in Cooperstown is plain silly. The guy is one of the best of his generation – maybe the best ever at the position he played – and the season-long goodbye that took place in every MLB stadium he played in this season is proof to that.
There was a lot of hope for Boston this season, and with Ortiz slugging 38 homers out, there was talk that maybe he could come back for just one more season after all the pomp and circumstance.
But it was just that: talk. As soon as the final out was recorded and the Indians started celebrating their advance to the next round, the cheers from the Boston faithful began streaming down. They were calling for Ortiz one last time, and for one last time as a player, he obliged. One last curtain call for Big Papi in Boston.
The Red Sox plan to retire Ortiz’s number 34 next season. A bridge in Boston will also be named after him as well.