Ortiz not backing down, says 'haters' motivate him

Ortiz not backing down, says 'haters' motivate him
February 19, 2014, 4:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Listen to David Ortiz long enough, and you might come away thinking that there are mobs of people on Yawkey Way, all carrying signs that read "Ortiz Must Go."
     
That's not remotely the case, of course. But as Ortiz answered questions about his future with the Red Sox for the second consecutive day Wednesday, it sounded like that at times.
     
"People want to make a big deal sometimes about me asking for another year, extension," said Ortiz, "when some other guys are asking for a 10-year extension. You're never going to make everyone happy. Some people are going to like it, someone people (don't).
     
"My problem is not the Red Sox; my problem isn't the fans. I'm super happy to be here. I'm glad to wear the uniform. The fans know that I'm more than proud to perform in front of them; I try my best every time I go out there. There's just a couple of haters out there who are always flipping things around.
     
"I can't control that. If you guys ask me a question, I'm more than nice to give you guys an answer. It's not like every time I bump into you guys, I talk about contracts."
     
Even a seemingly innocuous question about how long he wants to continue playing drew a caustic response.
     
"My question for everyone is, 'What am I doing so bad that people want me to retire?' " asked Ortiz. "Can anyone give me an answer to that?
     
"I think it's very disrespectful for someone out there to say I'm greedy, that all I want to talk about is contract. When am I going to talk about my contract -- when I retire? I'm not going to get a contract when I retire."
     
Ortiz's issues seem to be with two or three members of the media who are critical of his wish to get a deal for 2015 before 2014 has begun.
     
"Haters, man, haters," said Ortiz. "People hate. It's the world we live in today. People aren't comfortable with you doing well and that's it. That's the way I see it."
     
But as Ortiz eventually conceded, he uses the whispers of negativity to spur him on. He prefers play with a chip on his shoulder.
     
"That part of it motivates to come in and kick ass," said Ortiz. "I'm super-excited for the season to start. I'm anxious. I'm hungrier than ever. I want to get another (championship) and prove people wrong like I have my whole career.
     
"I always do (play with a chip on my shoulder). I always do."
     
Ortiz's agent, Fernando Cuza, was in Red Sox camp Tuesday and said he hoped to sit down with Red Sox officials before the end of the week to see if progress can be made on a new deal for Oritz which would carry him through the 2015 season.
     
Ortiz is cautiously optimistic.
     
"Conversations are good," he said. "My bosses are more than happy to be talking about what we're talking about. They're trying to get this out of the way so it doesn't begin to be a distraction. My goal right now is try to win another championship. That's all that matter to me right now.
     
"The contract situation is going to be taken care of at some point. When? I don't really know. Hopefully, pretty soon."
     
Principal owner John Henry, in his annual spring training press conference, said a new deal for Ortiz could be in the offing, but was careful not to commit to anything.
     
"It's conceivable," Henry said. "It's something we'll talk about. We'll definitely meet with them. He's meant to much to this franchise and to New England for so long now. He's helped carry us us three championships. I know where's he's coming from. He wants to finish his career here. We should try to make that happen.
     
"I don't know that it will get done. But I think it's good to have the conversation beginning at spring training. We'll all be here by tomorrow, so the sooner it's resolved, one way or another, the better it is for everyone."
     
At recently as last July's All-Star break, when it was noted that contemporaries such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were playing into their 40s, Ortiz was reluctant to commit to playing beyond the current contract.
     
But not long after the World Series, which he dominated, Ortiz made a determination to keep playing in 2015.
     
"Last year was a tough year for me and I survived,'' said Ortiz, in reference to the Achilles heel injury he dealt with in spring training and early April. "I  feel great. Now I feel way better than last year. If I got through it last year, I think I'm planning on going on."
     
And what if no agreement is forthcoming this spring? What if Ortiz is forced to finish his career some place other than Boston?
     
"It can happen," he said. "Hopefully not, but it can happen. Hopefully that's not the case. I like it here, I love the fans here, I love what I do here. My job is to not only hit the baseball; I do a lot of things I'm comfortable with and a lot of people care about. I think I've been doing OK as long as I've been here."