Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Boston Dirt Dogs – The Blog That Citizens of Red Sox Nation Swear By!

There are dozens of Blogs and Websites devoted to following the fortunes and vicissitudes of the Boston Red Sox. Nothing quite compares to the Boston Dirt Dogs site. In today’s edition, there is a reprint of a current Sport Illustrated article on David Ortiz that is a must-read for everyone who is a Red Sox fan or simply a baseball fan.

The cover story was written by Tom Verducci, one of the true baseball cognoscenti. The cover features a great picture of Big Papi in front of a red brick wall – a fitting metaphor for what he has become as the clutch-hitting DH for the Red Sox these past few seasons and post-seasons.

Verducci does a nice job of tying together several threads that have led to David’s growing motivation to perform at a superior level for the Red Sox. Among the factors that Verducci touches upon are Ortiz’s loving home growing up in the Dominican Republic, the sudden and tragic death of his mother in a collision with a dump truck on New Year’s day 2002, his subsequent unceremonious release by the Minnesota Twins, his emergence as the greatest hitter in Red Sox history, his new contract extension and his status as one of the acknowledged leaders on the team.

Ortiz is famous for his walk-off homeruns – 13 of them to date for the Red Sox, the most recent being Sunday’s blast that turned a certain defeat at the hands of the pesky Texas Rangers into a 5-4 Red Sox victory. He has a signature routine that he follows whenever he hits a big homerun. He jumps in the air, lands on home plate, and points his finger to the heavens. Verducci did not discuss these Ortizian histrionics, but I can shed some light on their meaning. One day last year, I was invited to join Ortiz and several of his Dominican friends at a special event followed by a luncheon. I think I was the only person sitting around the table who was not a native Spanish speaker. At one point as I was having a conversation with David, I asked him to tell me about why he points to the sky:

“That’s for my Mom, man; that’s for my Mom. She’s up there now, and I never forget what she did for me.”

It is refreshing to see a superstar keep things in perspective. As Verducci points out so beautifully in his article, Ortiz is not only an exciting baseball player to watch; he is a delightful human being to be around.

Go Papi! Go Sox!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Al -
While I respect Papi greatly, I gasped when I saw the words "greatest hitter in Red Sox History." Are we not forgetting Teddy Ballgame, Double X, or even Yaz? At this point in his career, I'd compare Papi, on the baseball field anyways, to Mo Vaughn, albeit Mo was nowhere as cltuch... Give Ortiz a few more years before he is annointed... Maybe I'll give him clutchest but that is it...