Nothing like waking up and finding out that one of your heroes has been shot.
I didn't become a baseball fan until college, kinda falling into the sport by accident after reading the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (better known as the book which inspired the movie Field of Dreams). From there I became a bit of a baseball biography junkie, finding the stories behind the sport to be as fascinating as anything in fiction. Right as I was in the middle of the Boston Red Sox Greats (Ted Williams, Cy Young, Smoky Joe Wood, and Babe Ruth) I started becoming interested in the game itself and followed The Seattle Mariners (my local team) along with the Red Sox, because their history was so rich.
Eventually I ended up dating a woman who was originally from Boston. Once she found out I was a Red Sox fan, she convinced her family to take me to a game when we went back to visit, and I've been a die-hard fan ever since.
Being a Red Sox fan in the 90's was not an easy thing.
Their last World Series Win was in 1918(!) and though they had seasons where they were able to shine, there were a lot of seasons that were bordering on tragedy. Then... as we started the new millennium, everything started to change. Players like Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia... and former Mariner David Ortiz... were driving a new era for the team, and it was a beautiful thing to see. In 2004 they won the World Series and have been back on track (for the most part) ever since.
David Ortiz (or "Big Papi," as we fans call him) was an absolute master of the game of baseball before retiring in 2016...
AP Newswire Photo
Bg Papi's record speaks for itself. He is easily one of the best designated hitters... and unarguably one of the best clutch hitters... of all time, blasting past MLB records for hits, runs batted in, and home runs. Watching him play is why people love baseball. He's a legend and hero not only to Boston Red Sox fans, but to other players and anybody with a love for the game regardless of which team they root for.
David Ortiz was shot in the back while exiting a club in the Dominican Republic last night.
No idea why anybody would want to do such a horrible thing to another human... but to shoot David Ortiz in the back? Why? What possible reason could there be for trying to kill somebody as universally loved as Big Papi? Was it because he was universally loved? There's just no making sense of these things. Current news (which I've been following all morning) has him resting and in stable condition. Television host Jhoel Lopez, who was also shot, is in stable condition as well.
I remember the season before his retirement with absolute clarity because it was so much fun.
Game after game after game or tributes and outpouring of love by fans and rival teams... some of them touching, many of them funny, all of them great. Of course I was sad that he was retiring, but I was also happy for him to be able to step back from the limelight and enjoy life... especially after all he's given to the Red Sox. He deserved a happy retirement.
And now this madness.
There's my love of David Ortiz the Boston Red Sox ball player. And there's my love of David Ortiz the person, which is completely encapsulated by his NSFW response to the Boston Marathon shooting...
Freedom in a nutshell.
I guess I end this post with sending all my warmest wishes for a speedy recovery to Ortiz and Lopez.
And a video with some great Big Papi baseball moments, of course...
Stay Boston Strong.