A decade after leaving the Twins, Ortiz's passion remains strong at age 37

A decade after his release from the Twins, David Ortiz, at 37 years old, remains the heart of the Red Sox lineup.

 

David Ortiz is showing no signs of slowing down at age 37.

The Red Sox slugger remains a media favorite, his quotes frequently lighting up reporters’ notebooks. And he still energizes one of baseball’s most passionate fan bases.

When the Twins were in Boston last week, Ortiz was in the news for a reason he disdained when a column by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wondered if performance-enhancing drugs have fueled his longevity. Ortiz was defiant, arguing that he has been tested a dozen times already this season.

Ortiz, according to the column, “fits the models” of a steroid user, partly because he is from the Dominican Republic. That did not go over well.

“The guy came to see me and asked some questions about steroids, and when you see the writing, it basically focuses on the fact that I’m Dominican and that many Dominicans have been caught using steroids,” Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. “And what about the Americans?”

Only a few weeks earlier, Ortiz was the face of a city attempting to move forward following the Boston Marathon bombing. He took the microphone during a pregame ceremony on April 20 at Fenway Park in front of a packed, emotional crowd and delivered a speech that included an expletive that was televised live by Fox.

The crowd roared. It was a Big Papi moment. Instead of landing him in hot water, the Federal Communications Commission and Major League Baseball overlooked the language. Now Ortiz is selling bats with the phrases he used that day to raise funds for victims of the bombings.

All proving that it takes a lot to derail Ortiz.

In his 17th major league season, Ortiz brings a .325 batting average, five homers and 21 RBI to Target Field this weekend when the Twins play the Red Sox.

By now, Twins fans likely are familiar with how the team released Ortiz following the 2002 season. Ortiz landed with the Red Sox and quickly became a force in their lineup. He remains one to this day.

In fact, he seems to be a force in everything he does.

“He’s phenomenal,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s folklore in Boston and, for us, he was one of the best guys we’ve ever had around. Loved having him in the clubhouse. Loved having him as a player.”

In order for the Twins to win three of four games at Boston last week, they had to go through Big Papi.

With closer Glen Perkins pitching in the ninth inning of the series finale May 9, Ortiz batted with a man on and Boston trailing 5-3. Ortiz laced a hot grounder that happened to be right at first baseman Justin Morneau, ending the game. The Twins felt like they dodged a big bullet.

“We’ve had that guy on our team and I loved it when he walked to the plate,” Gardenhire said, “but I don’t like watching him walk up there too many times now. He can hit it a long ways.”

Ortiz began the season late because of sore Achilles’ tendon. He recently revealed that he has been battling an oblique strain. Yet his bat is as quick as ever, and opponents are as nervous as ever.

“He’s like a lefthanded-hitting Miguel Cabrera,” Twins catcher Joe Mauer said.

In the series opener, won 6-5 in 11 innings by the Red Sox on May 6, Mauer and Anthony Swarzak tried to get Ortiz out in the eighth inning. They got ahead 0-2 in the count, but Mauer noticed Ortiz took strike two on the inside corner as if he expected it. Mauer worried about coming inside with another pitch, but that’s Swarzak’s strength, and the righthander was all for it.

“I knew I had him if I make my pitch,” Swarzak said.

Swarzak tried to come inside with that 0-2 pitch, but missed over the plate. Ortiz pounded the mistake for a double.

“He’s been like that for years,” Swarzak said, “and you have to be real careful going inside on him, especially down and in because he can lift that ball.”

Ortiz has hit 348 of his 406 career home runs in a Boston uniform. He also continues to be one of the faces of a Red Sox organization that won the World Series in 2004 and ’07. And he’s a reason why they have been one of the surprise teams in the league so far this season, following Boston’s miserable 69-93 season last year.

When his hot shot landed in Morneau’s glove, Ortiz saw his 25-game hitting streak end, a streak that dated to last season. He didn’t sound too pleased about it.

“Baseball gods take cover,” he said after the game. ‘You know what I’m saying? Nothing much you can do. I can tell you one thing, that ball found Morneau. He was right there.”

That’s Big Papi style.

 

  • related content

  • Video: Vance Worley's big start vs. Red Sox

    Thursday May 16, 2013

    The Star Tribune's Phil Miller and CineSport's Noah Coslov discuss Vance Worley's big start on Friday night against the...

  • Boom! That's a walk-off grand slam for Twins' No. 1 pick Buxton + video

    Friday May 17, 2013

    Byron Buxton, the Twins' No. 1 pick in last year's amateur draft, hit a walk-off grand slam for Class A Cedar Rapids on Thursday night.

  • Hartman: Perkins says Twins have better feel this year

    Friday May 17, 2013

    The closer believes the team has turned the corner following its difficulties the past two seasons.

  • Injured reliever Wood to be examined in Twin Cities

    Friday May 17, 2013

    Twins righthander Tim Wood, who has spent the season on the disabled list because of shoulder soreness, will be examined in the Twin Cities on Friday.

  • Boston-Twins series preview

    Friday May 17, 2013

    twins vs. boston series previewTHREE-GAME SERIES AT TARGET FIELDFriday, 7:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FMRHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.69 ERA) vs....

  • Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz

  • David Ortiz watched his a first-inning, three-run homer off Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore on Tuesday. That homer, the fifth in 21 games for Ortiz this season, was also notable because Moore is 7-0 with a 2.44 ERA.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 FINAL
Washington 5
Boston 8 FINAL
Minnesota 9
Toronto 0 FINAL
Baltimore 5
Oklahoma City 105 FINAL
Chicago 108
Dallas 23 2nd Qtr 9:59
Portland 21
Calgary 4 FINAL(SO)
Boston 3
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Washington 1
Toronto 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Dallas 4 FINAL(SO)
Florida 3
NY Islanders 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Vancouver 0 3rd Prd 11:33
Arizona 2
Montreal 0 2nd Prd
Los Angeles 2
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 83 FINAL
Bucknell 90
Western Ky 88 FINAL
Charlotte 84
Navy 62 FINAL
Colgate 72
Temple 70 FINAL
East Carolina 56
UAB 59 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 62
Boston Univ 64 FINAL
Lafayette 89
American Univ 68 FINAL
Lehigh 62
Wisconsin 76 FINAL
Minnesota 63
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Saint Peters 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
South Carolina 74
Morehead State 76 FINAL
UT Martin 65
USC Upstate 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
North Florida 71
Southern Ill 55 FINAL
Missouri State 48
Texas State 64 FINAL
Appalachian St 67
SC State 62 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 72
Delaware State 104 FINAL
Coppin State 92
Middle Tennessee 54 FINAL
FIU 59
Texas-Arlington 64 FINAL
Ga Southern 76
Norfolk State 80 FINAL
Hampton 69
NC A&T 58 FINAL
NC Central 69
Savannah State 57 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 72
Marshall 50 FINAL
Old Dominion 67
Rice 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 74
South Alabama 81 FINAL
Arkansas State 76
Alabama State 70 FINAL
Grambling St 46
Alabama A&M 54 FINAL
Jackson State 72
Sam Houston St 67 FINAL
Lamar 61
Georgia State 58 FINAL
ULM 50
Central Arkansas 70 FINAL
Nicholls 77
Portland State 51 FINAL
Northern Ariz 58
Southern U 77 FINAL
Prairie View 73
Alcorn State 73 FINAL
Texas Southern 94
Houston Baptist 72 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 85
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Louisiana 75
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
New Orleans 85
California 60 FINAL
Arizona 99
Memphis 54 FINAL
Connecticut 53
VA Commonwealth 55 FINAL
Davidson 82
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Sacramento St 65 FINAL
Southern Utah 69
Northwestern St 66 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 92
North Texas 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 83
Colorado 64 FINAL
Washington 47
Idaho 63 FINAL
Weber State 74
Abilene Christian 52 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Eastern Wash 85 FINAL
Idaho State 81
Marist 76 2nd Half 0:42
Quinnipiac 69
Eastern Ill 64 FINAL
Belmont 97
Bradley 40 2nd Half 4:32
Drake 41
Cal State Fullerton 26 2nd Half 15:39
UC Irvine 35
CS-Northridge 28 2nd Half 17:52
Long Beach State 32
UC Riverside 39 2nd Half 15:13
UC Davis 29
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 0 1st Half 17:52
Washington St 0
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
UCLA 80
FIU 30 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
Florida Atlantic 56 FINAL
UAB 59
NC A&T 67 FINAL
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Virginia Tech 51 FINAL
Pittsburgh 45
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Gardner-Webb 70 FINAL
Radford 56
Georgia 75 FINAL
Missouri 64
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Ark-Little Rock 68 FINAL
Louisiana 66
South Alabama 60 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 73 FINAL
Lamar 92
SE Louisiana 75 FINAL
New Orleans 84
Northwestern St 45 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 56
Alabama A&M 58 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Alabama State 68 FINAL
Grambling 62
Southern U 78 FINAL
Prairie View 50
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Texas Southern 73
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 54 FINAL
Mercer 75
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Incarnate Word 62
La Salle 60 FINAL
Rhode Island 65
Illinois 71 FINAL
Nebraska 86
TX-San Antonio 60 FINAL
Rice 49
Valparaiso 55 FINAL
Oakland 70
Missouri State 65 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Georgia Tech 64 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 84
Charlotte 72 FINAL
Western Ky 80
Texas-El Paso 69 FINAL
North Texas 61
Wichita State 77 FINAL
Evansville 63
Loyola-Chicago 64 FINAL
Northern Iowa 69
Bradley 70 FINAL
Drake 86
Presbyterian 62 FINAL
High Point 75
Vanderbilt 61 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 67
Colorado 75 FINAL
USC 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Pacific 64
Idaho State 58 FINAL
Eastern Washington 62
Weber State 42 FINAL
Idaho 71
Purdue 67 2nd Half 3:15
Minnesota 67
Cal-Irvine 34 2nd Half 15:10
Cal State Fullerton 41
Long Beach St 29 2nd Half 18:14
CS-Northridge 48
Hawaii 36 2nd Half 15:59
UC Santa Barbara 28
UC Davis 32 2nd Half 15:18
UC-Riverside 37
Northern Ariz 52 2nd Half 14:18
Portland State 38
Southern Utah 29 2nd Half 18:45
Sacramento St 63
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close