Ortiz continues powerful postseason with dugout speech

Ortiz continues powerful postseason with dugout speech
October 28, 2013, 2:15 am
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ST. LOUIS -- Trailing two games to one in the World Series, with one run on the scoreboard and time starting to run out on the Red Sox, David Ortiz gathered his teammates in the corner of the dugout before the top of the sixth inning.
      
Ortiz had a messasge, modeled after Knute Rockne.
      
It was the old motivational speech, delivered on key, and just in time.
      
"As we came off the field," recalled Jonny Gomes, "David got everyone's attention. Anytime this guy opens his mouth, everyone is locked in. Whatever comes out of his mouth is going to be meaningful, priceless and probably something you don't know."
      
The hulking instilled a sense of urgency in the Red Sox.
      
"I told them we had been in this situation before and that we had a better team than we had showed," said Ortiz. "The game's tough and I know we have better hitters than we had shown. I see guys who dominate good pitching and they haven't been able to come through. Yeah, [the Cardinals] have good pitching, but they're throwing the ball over the plate."
      
The Sox were tied in the game, but trailed in the Series. A loss Sunday night would have presented the very real possibility that the Sox couldn't get the Series back to Boston.
      
Ortiz has two rings, from 2004 and 2007. But it had been six long years since he had last there and he wanted to make a point.
      
"If you think you're going to get to the World Series every year, you're wrong," said Ortiz, "especially playing in the A.L. East. You know how many people we beat up to get to this stage? A lot of good teams. A lot of good teams. And that doesn't happen every year.
      
"I told them, 'It took me (six) years to get back to this stage. We've had better teams than we have right now and we never made it. So, take advantage."
      
One teammate, in particular, took the message to heart.
      
Five batters into the next half inning, Gomes came to the plate and drilled a three-run homer to left that turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Red Sox' lead.
      
Mission accomplished.
      
"That sums up the type of guy he is, the superstar he is, the teammate he is," said Gomes. "The passion he has for this game and obviously the passion he has for the 24 guys that he's sharing the dugout with right there.
      
"If this guy wants to rally us together for a pep talk, it was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher. He got everyone's attention and we looked him right in the eyes. That message was pretty powerful."
      
Added David Ross; "I know one thing -- when David Ortiz speaks, I think everybody listens. That guy brings it every day. We're not the team we are and we wouldn't be here without him. I was all ears."
      
When he wasn't stirring the troops, Ortiz continued to deliver at the plate. He had the Red Sox' first hit, an infield single that struck starter Lance Lynn in the heel and rebounded back to the catcher, but not before Ortiz legged out a single.
      
In the fifth, he doubled to right-center and scored the first run when Stephen Drew hit a sacrifice fly to left and Ortiz slid into Yadier Molina and kicked the ball loose.
      
There was another walk in the sixth, right before Gomes' homer, and finally, another single in the eighth.
      
Four plate appearances, four times on base, two runs scored. For the Series, he's hitting .727 (8-for-11) and has an on-base percentage of .750.
      
That proves he can do more than talk a good game.
      
And if an encore rallying speech is necessary?
      
"I would do it again tomorrow if I have to," vowed Ortiz.