On Papi's angry answers

On Papi's angry answers
May 22, 2012, 7:43 pm
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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

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