The Rays did not intend to honor David Ortiz, at least publicly, until a week ago. In his final series at Tropicana Field, he was primed to do enough damage to Rays fans psyche with his bat. No need to rub it in, right?
There was widespread publicity about the Rays’ intentions, though, so the Rays made it official. A video would be played. Gifts that might have been exchanged behind the scenes would be given on the field.
Then tragedy. Jose Fernandez was taken from this world, and Ortiz himself asked the ceremony be cancelled.
The Rays still gave their gifts, though, and that deserves some level of acknowledgement.
As a retirement gift, Longo and Arch presented David Ortiz an oil painting of his 500th career homer, hit at Tropicana Field in 2015. pic.twitter.com/e5Re52PCqs— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 25, 2016
Life is too short, and you being upset at the picture above is unreasonable.
The media narrative would have you believe Ortiz hates Rays players, like David Price (now his teammate) or Chris Archer (he who kissed his biceps after striking out Daniel Nava and was painted as Public Enemy No. 1 by Ortiz). But this is all a game. Tempers flare, and tempers cool.
The Rays did many things to acknowledge the likely-future Hall of Famer, as spelled out in detail here:
Much lesser note given today's news, but info here on #Rays gifts to honor #RedSox's Ortiz: pic.twitter.com/K7VyUyd89D— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 25, 2016
Ortiz is just the fourth visiting player to be honored pregame at Tropicana Field, joining Derek Jeter (September 16, 2014), Mariano Rivera (August 23, 2013) and Cal Ripken Jr. (August 23, 2001).