David Ortiz: Through the 2012 blowups

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David Ortiz: Through the 2012 blowups

Unfortunately, David Ortiz's July 4th blowup isn't the first. It's actually the third one of note in this season alone, a season that seems to be growing more and more frustrating for the Red Sox DH despite his excellent numbers.

To celebrate Ortiz being in the news once again for the wrong reasons, we take a look back the other infamous moments in Ortiz's 2012 season:

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First Blowup: May 23 in Baltimore

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Reports surface that Ortiz called a players-only meeting. Ortiz then calls out media on what is considered "leadership" in this town. He just can't win . . .

McAdam on Ortiz's leadership rant

Origin of Ortiz's leadership rant
Second blowup: June 21 in Boston

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The bleep hits the fan as far as Ortiz is concerned. He's tired of all the "drama" outside of baseball. This prompted him to say, among other things, of playing in Boston: "It's becoming the bleephole it used to be."

Ortiz: "Becoming the bleephole it used to be."

McAdam: "Ortiz has been building to this blowup."

Ortiz creates some of the drama

Curious timing of Ortiz's remarks

McAdam on The Baseball Show: "Some hypocrisy in Ortiz's comments."

Does Ortiz deserve a multi-year contract?
Third blowup: July 4 in Oakland

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Show me the money. That was Ortiz's main point when venting to a USA Today reporter about his current contract situation. Ortiz said last year's arbitration process was "humiliating" and "embarrassing" and that he's "open to anything" when he hits free agency next season.
Ortiz's latest contract gripe

McAdam: Might not have heard the end of Ortiz' gripeThird blowup cont'd.: Standing Room Only - Any sympathy for Papi? Rich Levine feels bad for David Ortiz, but not in the way that you might think. Where is the old Papi?
Borges: Ortiz shouldn't be penalized for being DH

Massarotti: Ortiz angry he has to work for his money

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.