It seems David Ortiz is pretty angry because he thinks people in the media -- and in the Red Sox front office -- don't consider him a leader.
It was an interesting take by Big Papi, especially after recent reports that he had called a closed-door meeting that sparked the Red Sox to wins in 9 of their last 11 games. Ortiz has been largely praised for being the leader the team team needed to snap its early-season funk.
Still, he sounded miffed by the idea of the prototypical leader in Boston.
"Well, let me tell you, I was reading an article that talked about the leaders people call 'leaders' in this town," Ortiz told ESPN Boston. "Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it's not good enough.
"And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?"
"No. 1, I don't agree with that," Ortiz said. "And No. 2, what I do I don't do for people to know. I do it for my teammates, to get to know things better. I don't give a expletive about anybody knowing what we talk about, No. 1. And No. 2, I don't give a expletive what they call leaders."
Ortiz's comments seem directed at the idea that Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia have been the unquestioned leaders of the Red Sox. But Ortiz is now the longest-tenured member of the team so why isn't he in the discussion?
Hardball Talk has an interesting take on that thought:
Our ideas about leadership in sports are kinda screwy. When things go well for a ballclub, we look at certain people and call them leaders. When they go poorly, we rarely blame them for their lack of leadership. A couple of writers asked where Jason Varitek was when it was allegedly all going to hell for the Sox last September, but it was certainly a minority view. For the most part, guys who are cast as captains are only talked about in those terms when things go well. When things go poorly its because of screwups like Josh Beckett.And, as Ortiz may or may not have intended to imply, its funny how the people we call leaders on ballclubs tend to fit a certain type. Everyday position players who, coincidentally or not, are often scrappy or fiery players. And, coincidentally or not, are usually white dudes. Why couldnt David Ortiz be a leader? Why must someone like Dustin Pedroia be assumed to be? Why must it be a vocal person as opposed to someone who leads by example or behind the scenes? Why must it be one person? . . . Not saying that Ortiz is a great leader . . . Maybe he had a good moment with that team meeting and the rest of the time hes like everyone else. Maybe the Sox good play of late is a total coincidence (if the Sox played poorly for the past week, would the narrative be Ortiz sows dissension in the clubhouse?). But I can certainly see how he or other players could get a bit rankled when it comes to the leadership talk we like so much in the media.