David Ortiz's legend will outlive the David Ortiz hate

David Ortiz's legend will outlive the David Ortiz hate
July 1, 2014, 1:00 pm
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People hate hearing other people complain. In turn, people really hate hearing other people complain about other people complaining. And as a result, through the transitive property of complaints, people really really hate hearing other people complain about other people complaining about other people complaining.  
 
With that said, I’ll try to make this quick.
 
Leave David Ortiz alone!
 
I guess. If you want. If not, it’s your right to continue hating on and insulting a 38-year-old designated hitter who’s on pace to hit 38 home runs, and has already done more for the Boston Red Sox than an anyone who’s ever lived. That’s fine. You can call him greedy and a prima donna or whatever word you like.
 
Because David Ortiz complains about his contract.
 
Because none of us have ever done that, right?.
 
And I know, he makes so much more money; he should have some perspective and shut the hell up. But for more perspective, why can we look up at David Ortiz and scream “Have some perspective!”, but not allow Ortiz to say the same thing to John Henry? What’s the difference? What is perspective?
 
It’s two guys sitting at a bar and watching the game, when one says: “I only made $80,000 this year, how can Ortiz complain about $15M?”
 
And the other guy says: “I only made $35,000, what are YOU complaining about?”
 
Because David Ortiz complains about scorekeeping.
 
One of his more recent sins. In this case, it’s not only the complaining but also how he did it — by showing up the scorekeeper during the game and calling him “horrible” after the game. And that’s fine. I mean, not fine. He obviously shouldn’t have done that. But before using this incident to launch some horrible, overarching anti-Ortiz takedown, consider these two things: he was right and he apologized.
 
He was right and he apologized.
 
That’s a double rainbow right there. And it was a real apology. Not a manufactured statement released through the club’s PR machine. Ortiz stood in front of his locker and said:
 
“I owe an apology to MLB, Joe Torre, the scorekeeper. There’s been a lot of frustration this year and it’s frustrating when things get that way. You don’t want the message spread out that way. I didn’t do that right.”
 
He gets it. He’s sorry. He’s human. He makes mistakes.
 
Speaking of which, ever lost your temper at work? Ever been frustrated, and maybe, even if you’re not that kind of person, even if you felt bad immediately afterwards, in a moment of weakness, taken out that frustration on a junior employee? Someone you know won’t and can’t fire back?
 
Me too. And it sucks and you feel bad. But that doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person. You just do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
 
Because David Ortiz complains about the schedule.
 
That’s his latest sin. Last Friday night, after a brutal, lifeless loss to the Yankees — Boston’s sixth loss in eight games — Ortiz was asked if he thought the Sox might “bust out” of it over the weekend:
 
“Hopefully it gets better tomorrow,” Ortiz said. “The schedule we have is just unbelievable. It’s pretty bad, man. It’s pretty bad. I’m not using that as an excuse, but we’re human and we go everywhere to play, right?
 
“In my 18-year career, I’ve never seen that,” he said. “The schedule is, we had to play the last game on the West Coast in a night game and then have to travel. It’s pretty bad. You have to do something about that at some point. It doesn’t help.”
 
In other words, he gave an honest answer to a question that could have so easily been deflected with another boring cliché. He did what fans and especially the media begs for and criticizes players for not doing. He thought about it, and gave a little insight into what was going on behind the scenes; how the team was feeling.
 
Should he have lied?
 
Smiled and said, “Oh yeah! This is it! No stopping us now!”
 
Sure. And then he gets criticized for being unrealistic.
 
Reality is that when David Ortiz was asked about the Red Sox “busting out” the Red Sox had just finished a stretch of 36 games in 39 days in nine different cities from sea to shining sea.
 
He felt like garbage, and not only admitted it, but tried his best to explain why.
 
Ever felt rundown at work? Complained about your hours? And I know, Ortiz gets to play baseball for a living. But even playing baseball (and even in the capacity that Ortiz does it) is more exhausting than sitting at a desk.  
 
So . . .
 
I don’t know. I don’t need to be defending David Ortiz. He can take care of himself. I just don’t get the hate. Don’t understand why it’s necessary to spend so much trying to knock this guy down. Or why there’s even that urge. This is David Ortiz. One of the greatest Red Sox of all time. A guy who stood up in April 2013 when this city was at its breaking point and knew all the right things to say. Who helped pull Boston out the gutter for no other reason than that he loves this city and its people. Because he’s a passionate, emotional guy. Ortiz never just cares “a little” about something. It’s all or nothing. That’s what makes him David Ortiz.
 
And sure, sometimes those emotions get the best of him. Maybe he does things that he regrets or will regret down the line. Maybe he’s a human being. Maybe he’s not perfect.
 
But he’s done so much more good than bad. Obviously. It pains me to even write that. And as the years go by, the gap between good and bad will only get bigger. History won’t remember the Ortiz that we spend so much time arguing about these days. When you take your kid or grandkid to see the David Ortiz statue outside Fenway Park, you’re not going to put your hand on his or her shoulder and say, “This here is one of the greatest Red Sox of all time. I really wish you could have seen him play. Although there that one time he made a frustrated gesture to the scorekeeper after the scorekeeper screwed up. Oh yeah, and there was that time that he told the media he's tired after playing 36 games in 39 days in nine different cities. But other than that, I swear he was awesome.”
 
Nope. No one will care about that stuff. These arguments will be long forgotten. At the end of the day, the legend of David Ortiz will win out over the obsession with him not being a perfect.
 
So why not get ahead of the curve?
 
Follow me on Twitter: @rich_levine