Any sympathy for Papi?

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Any sympathy for Papi?

I'll write more about David Ortiz for tomorrow, but in the meantime wanted to express one somewhat surprising emotion: Sympathy.

I feel bad for him.

Not in an "Ohhh, poor Papi. He gets paid 14.5 million dollars to swing a baseball bat" kind of way, because that side of the story is ridiculous. It's beyond frustrating. It makes Ortiz look like a total fraud.

I mean, how can you throw a tantrum at the notion that you're not a leader, yet continuously pull crap like this? Not only is it hypocritical, but it's psychotic. You can't have it both ways.
If you're a leader, you lead. You swallow your pride, make peace with reality and stop bitching about things that only affect you. If you don't, you don't.

Honestly, what's the benefit of complaining about a 14.5M contract? Do you think fans will sympathize with that? Or that Larry Lucchino called Ben Cherington this afternoon and said: "Hey, so I just read David's interview in The USA Today, and you know what . . . I think he has a point. We've totally mishandled this situation. Get his agent on the phone."

It's enough already.

And obviously, that's not why I feel bad.

I feel bad for Ortiz because, regardless of whether he's right to feel the way he does, this whole contract situation has turned him into a pretty miserable dude. It's chewed up one of the happiest, most fun-loving and beloved athletes in Boston history, and spit out a guy who can't even let fans celebrate his 400th home run before airing another round of played out grievances. It's like every time something good happens, Vincent Ludwig triggers a chip in Big Papi's brain: "I must bitch . . . about my contract . . . I must bitch . . . about my contract . . ." It's out of control.

And it's really too bad, because not only was it a lot of fun cheering for the old David Ortiz, but I always imagined it was a lot of fun being the old David Ortiz. And for one reason or another, that guy no longer exists.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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