As of last week, the Rays had no plans to honor David Ortiz's final game at Tropicana Field, according to Mark Topkin. This came as welcome news to many Rays fans.
After all, the Red Sox have been the Rays' chief rival in recent years, and Ortiz has been at the center of some tense moment in this rivalry. Like "declaring war on David Price." Like his constant stare downs and bat flips against when hitting against Chris Archer.
And it's not as though his childish tendencies are on display only against the Rays. This is the player who has instigated the most bench clearing shenanigans in all of baseball for the past two decades...or at least it feels like it. He has destroyed at least one dugout telephone that we are aware of, he has used his bat to threaten opposing players, and he has even gone as far as to say he was going to war with a certain Cy Young winner.
Sure, Ortiz has been a darned good hitter, especially since he joined the Red Sox at age 27, and that is worthy of recognition. But to turn this career DH's retirement into a full blown beatification is at best puzzling and at worst distressing.
Mariano Rivera received going away presents from almost every team, but Mariano Rivera was one of the most respected players to ever wear a baseball uniform who set new standards in what it means to close out games. Even that was a bit over the top as he received one extravagant gift after another, but at least the schmalz was poured on to reward a worthy player.
Derek Jeter followed soon after with his own retirement tour, and he also received gifts and honors from almost every team in the league. Again, a bit over the top, but Derek Jeter had been the face of baseball for years and was one of its best role models.
Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are two players who MLB should want kids to look up to and try to imitate....David Ortiz is not.
David Ortiz is outspoken, boisterous, and constantly shows up opposing teams but isn't afraid to call out those same teams for displaying similar emotions. His pimping of medium deep fly balls, or his seemingly never ending home run
trot limp stroll all seem more designed to show off than to help his team or enhance the game. Here at DRB we are not big "unwritten rules" people, but if Brian McCann and his ilk feel there's a need for policing show boats, Ortiz should be his Exhibit A.
And we haven't yet mentioned Ortiz's history with performing enhancing drugs. It is a fact that he tested positive for PEDs in 2003 and he has been tested numerous time since, but hasn't failed one over the time since his failure in 2003. However, his name has been connected to almost every steroid scandal in baseball and with every passing one, you always think Ortiz will get nailed. Circumstantial evidence is never dispositive, but in tandem with the 2003 positive test it's hard to ignore: his physical transformation from his years with the Twins; the fact that the only players in history who share his power profile into their thirties are Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.
Yes, I know the players are the ones who decided that they wanted to present David Ortiz with some going away gifts for whatever reason, but I just don't understand it.
It's perfectly fine for Ortiz to receive a day to himself in Boston in front of the Fenway faithful and allow the Bostonians to rain praise on their retiring star, but for the rest of the league to do it, is just flat out ridiculous.
What kind of gift should the Rays present to David Ortiz?
A painting of David Price in boxing gloves? A personalized sand sculpture of Chris Archer kissing his bicep? A sand sculpture, but then have Chris Archer stomp through it?
Leave your answers in the comments below