On Papi's angry answers


On Papi's angry answers

Thanks to the Celtics, I'm just getting caught up on this David Ortiz story.

If you missed it, last night after the Sox comeback win Ortiz was asked about the player's only meeting that he called last week. One in which he allegedly addressed the pitching staff not carrying its weight (resisting fat joke), and has in some ways been credited for the Sox recent turn around.

His response, as they say in the Dominican, was absolutely ridiculous.

"Let me tell you, I was reading an article that talked about the leaders people call 'leaders' in this town," Ortiz said. "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?"

He continued: "I don't get no respect. Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It's always hiding, for somebody to find out."

Yikes, Davey. And he wasn't done there, but nothing else he said really expounded on the basic point. Essentially, that Ortiz doesn't think he gets enough credit not from the fans, the media or the front office for being a leader in the Sox clubhouse because most of his work is done behind the scenes and he doesn't care who finds out.

Now obviously his reasoning is a little flawed. What Papi said pretty much amounts to making an anonymous donation and then getting pissed when the guy who signed his check gets all the attention. But whatever, I don't want to pick on Ortiz. The guy's had a great season, and I'm sure this fact has only heightened his aggravation over not getting that long term deal. And after all, it's not really up to me or anyone else to judge who the leaders are on that team.

I'm obviously not in the clubhouse, and even the guys who are don't get to see what really goes on. I'm sure they hear stories, and pick up pieces here and there, but no one knows exactly how much Ortiz means and has meant to that team behind the scenes except for the players and coaches who are actually there.

But for the sake of conversation, here are three reasons that despite how long he's been around and how much he's accomplished between the lines I've never really considered David Ortiz to be a great leader inside that clubhouse.

1. He's spent the last few years publicly bitching mid-season about the lack of a long term deal.

2. Last season, he barged into his manager's press conference to cry about the disappearance of one RBI.

3. Last October, in the aftermath of one of the worst collapses in baseball history, Ortiz said this about playing in Boston: "There's too much drama, man. There's too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year."

Now, I could be wrong. And the fact that he did call that player's only meeting, and that it seems to have garnered a pretty significant response, suggests that I am. That we are. That maybe the fans, the media and the entire organization is sleeping on how much positivity Ortiz creates behind the scenes.

But even if his clandestine leadership tactics deserve more respect, there's no question that his leadership in the public arena has repeatedly come up short.

Like the time when he was asked about calling a team meeting that may have helped turn around the season, and turned into sob story about no one in the world respects him.

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

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.