Box Score Bank: Two Times the Papi

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Box Score Bank: Two Times the Papi

Last night at Fenway, David Ortiz jacked two home runs in the Sox 9-6 loss. The blasts brought Papi's career total to 398, leaving him two short of a historic plateau. But by hitting two in one game, he tied an impressive Red Sox record which I'm sure you've already heard or read about at some point but I'm going to repeat again just for the hell of it:

It was the 37th time that Ortiz has hit two homers in a game for the Sox, tying him with Ted Williams for the franchise record.

Sounds like the makings of a Box Score Bank.

So let's set our sights (and this site) for July 4, 2003

The Matrix Reloaded was No. 1 at the Box Office . . . Clay Aiken's "This is the Night" was in the midst of its glorious two week run atop the Billboard chart . . . America was celebrating its 227th birthday . . . You were mere hours away from getting drunk and blowing off your index finger with a Roman Candle . . .

And over at old Yankee Stadium, David Ortiz was hitting two home runs in a game for the first time in his Red Sox career:

Final Score: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3

Crazy fact: Ortiz was actually one of three Red Sox Jason Varitek and Bill Mueller were the others to homer twice on the afternoon. Manny Ramirez only hit one, but it was enough to give the Sox seven homers in the game, which was (and still is) one short of a team record.

Papi led off the fourth with his first homer off David Wells to give Boston a 5-2. He led off the seventh with homer No. 2 off Jason Anderson to make it 9-3. And at the time, no one was exactly sure what to make of this David Ortiz. After all, he didn't come on board with any special fan fare. He'd only recently started playing every day. Even though he hit two homers, they were only his sixth and seventh of the season and the All-Star break was less than a week away.

We loved seeing him kill the Yankees, but we still needed a little more convincing before laying on that special brand of Red Sox love and affection.

Ortiz provided it the very next day, when he hit two more homers against the Yankees (the first off Roger Clemens) in the Sox 10-2 win. It's still the only time in Ortiz's career that he's hit two homers in consecutive games.

Well, at least until tonight.

What a way that would be to hit 400.

And leave Teddy Ballgame in his dust.

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

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

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Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully ensconced in the Bruins' second exhibition game, on tap for tonight. 
 
-- It’s awesome to see Wayne Gretzky back in the mix with the NHL, and serving as “official ambassador” for the NHL’s centennial celebration. 
 
-- Tough times for former Bruins forward and former Czech national coach Vladimir Ruzicka, who was fined for some shady, fraudulent activity

-- Andrew Shaw announced his presence in Montreal with authority. The only thing missing from this WWE-type performance was a Hulkster hand to his ear before the threw a punch. 
 
-- A sad column from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Donnie Brennan, who says it’s time for Clarke MacArthur to retire after all the concussions. I remember writing the exact same thing about Marc Savard five or six years ago before he ultimately took one last big hit and retired. 
 
-- It sounds like old friend Vladimir Sobotka is going to stick in the KHL, and isn’t coming back to the St. Louis Blues as many suspected. 
 
-- For something completely different: A pretty fun Lyft commercial featuring David Ortiz, but how the hell did these people not recognize him?
 

Gronkowsk hoping to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon

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Gronkowsk hoping to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowsi had what was, for him, an incredibly quiet game against the Texans on Thursday. He saw 14 snaps and ran just one route. He did see a target from rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett when he ran that route, but it floated high over his head and sailed out of the end zone incomplete. 

In his first game action since suffering a hamstring injury on Aug. 15, the Patriots chose to being their All-Pro tight end along slowly, but he's hoping that he'll be more involved in the very near future. 

"You’ve got to be careful with any injury, but I mean, if you research hamstrings, if you know anything about hamstrings, you’ve definitely got to be careful," he said. "You’ve got to progress. You can’t just hop back in and be full-go 100 percent. I wish it was like that. I can’t wait until I’m going freakin' crazy out there again. So I’m just progressing myself into it and feeling better every single day."

Gronkowski was back on the practice field for his team's workout in full pads on Wednesday. He was spotted running through drills and catching passes from tight ends coach Brian Daboll, and he did not appear to be visibly limited. After running around in a game, albeit briefly, Gronkowski explained that he experienced no setbacks.

"I felt good, definitely," Gronkowski said of playing under the lights. "You’re always sore no matter what after playing a game. No matter if you play 10 plays or 70 plays, [you’re] definitely sore like any other game. But no setbacks. No nothing. Feeling good and just progressing every day."

Regardless of who happens to be playing quarterback for the Patriots against the Bills on Sunday -- whether it's Jimmy Garoppolo or Brissett, both of whom practiced Wednesday -- having Gronkowski on the field and closer to his usual level of participation should help. 

"They’re doing very well, very excellent," Gronkowski said of Garoppolo and Brissett's performances with Tom Brady out. "Every single day, they’re just trying to improve and progress every day. This week, you just see everyone throughout the team, everyone is just trying to progress . . . The coaches do a great job of getting the quarterbacks prepared. If there is something there that we need to get on the same page with the quarterbacks on, we’ll talk, but the coaches do an excellent job of getting the quarterbacks ready."