Ortiz only Red Sox named to All-Star Game

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Ortiz only Red Sox named to All-Star Game

SEATTLE -- David Ortiz was selected for his eighth All-Star Game appearance Sunday, but the honor never gets old.

"It's always exciting," said Ortiz. "It's the one time of the season where (some) fans who never get the opportunity to watch you play and they take the time to come and enjoy their favorite players. Being voted to the All-Star Game is something that a lot of never get a chance. There's an appreciation from the players to the fans for voting us and wanting to come and watch us play.

"It's an honor to go back to the All-Star Game and put on a good show for the fans that's the most important thing."

Ortiz is the lone representative from the Red Sox, marking the first time since 2001 (Manny Ramirez) that only one Red Sox player made the roster.

Said Bobby Valentine: "David's played like an All-Star. Maybe it's fitting that he's the only All-Star (from the Sox) because he's played so consistently well the entire time and he could get the notice, get the spotlight. David's been consistently excellent. When he comes to the plate, everything stops and usually something good happens. For the first part of the season, there's nothing more that anyone could ask out of any one player."

"We've been dealing with a lot of things," said Ortiz of the Sox. "The guys that haven't been able to do what they normally do, they're dealing with injuries, too. It's hard. This is my first time going to the All-Star game by myself. Hopefully, it doesn't turn out boring. I always like to hang out with my (teammates).

"You don't see this ballclub having just one player going. But like I said, there's been a lot of injuries and a lot of stuff that we've been dealing with. That's the major reason why, because we have a lot of All-Star players, through the years, always representing this ballclub. This is my first time going myself; we always go as a group and we always have so many guys playing well, doing their thing and being voted by the fans. So, hopefully, this is the last time (only) one player will be going."

Ortiz went into Sunday's action batting .305 with 21 homers and 53, leading his team in most offensive categories, while leading all American League hitters in extra-base hits and ranking second in the league in OPS.

At 36, he's shown no signs of slowing down.

"Age is a state of mind," shrugged Ortiz. "Age, if you take care of yourself and do the right things, age isn't going to matter. In baseball, I really believe that the longer you prepare youself to play and if you take care of yourself and you have the ability to play the game, you're going to put up numbers."

Ortiz, who was the captain of the American League team for last year's Home Run Derby, will sit out the competition this month.

"I'm going to enjoy myself now, just watching the guys performing out there," said Ortiz. "I always enjoy the guys hitting bombs. My dad always tells me, 'You look like a little kid out there when you see guys going deep.' It's fun. But I'm going to be like the Godfather now -- I'm just going to sit down and watch.

"I got worn out last year, man. I got so tired and I think it caught up with me later on during the season. I ran out of gas. For the
first time, I felt like I was really tired. I guess age was catching up with Papi. I guess I need to save my energy for the second half now."

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.