BOSTON (CBS) – Just when the Red Sox started to look like a team you could rally behind, the de facto captain showed the team’s true colors.
Leading into Monday’s The D.A. Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, we discussed the leadership displayed by David Ortiz in orchestrating the players only meeting that appeared to spur the team on a recent 8-2 run. We praised Big Papi for being the man to speak up against the starting pitchers, and even said he does more leading than Dustin Pedroia.
But then I woke up Tuesday to read this quote from Ortiz to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston:
“I don’t get no respect. Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It’s always hiding, for somebody to find out.”
Let me get this straight: Ortiz is the highest-paid player at his position in baseball, earning $8 million more than the next-highest compensated designated hitter. He went consecutive years with month-long slumps to start seasons and was roundly cheered. All of Red Sox Nation gave him a free pass for being outed as a user of performance enhancing drugs.
When Big Papi arrived in Boston he was an unknown third-string first baseman formerly known as David Arias. He was even behind Jeremy Giambi on the depth chart. Since 2003, he has been “disrespected” to the count of $96 million dollars by the current ownership group. He has a worldwide brand that enables him to earn countless sponsorship dollars. Today, he is Big Papi.
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Ortiz’s love and adoration from Red Sox Nation is well deserved. He almost single-handedly led the team to its first championship in 86 years and his clutch play will likely never be replicated.
However, these comments are symptomatic of a wider problem within the doors of the Red Sox clubhouse. The highest-paid pitcher is coming off an embarrassing roller coaster month that saw him spend his time rehabbing a lat injury by squeezing in 27 holes. Now, their biggest personality uses the night the team scrapes its way back to .500 to give a profanity-laden rant to Gordon Edes.
What Ortiz does not understand is just how easy he has had it in Boston. If his predecessor, Mo Vaughn, were to have started the 1998 season without a home run until June, he would have been booed out of Fenway. This Sox team and its fans have been spoiled, and there is no greater example than that of its designated hitter.
The Sox have been riddled with injuries and are showing some real resilience with a Triple-A lineup in the outfield. However, comments like these from David Ortiz are the latest example of how detached the current superstars on the Sox are from reality.
It is the delusional leading the blind on Yawkey Way.
Chris Curtis has produced 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The DA Show the last three years. Follow him on Twitter @DAShowProducer