BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox spring training is underway in Fort Myers, with David Ortiz ready to do battle for another championship ring.
But in his first time talking with the gathered media at the team’s training complex, Ortiz was asked about Tuesday’s interview with The Boston Herald’s John Tomase, where the Sox DH went off on those that are critical of all the contract chatter.
Ortiz made it clear on Wednesday that he is asking for just one more year added on to the last year of his contract, and not a multi-year deal as some have said. Ortiz says the issues he aired out with Tomase aren’t with the team, but a few select members of the media who look for reasons to bash him.
“My problem isn’t the Red Sox, it ain’t the fans. I’m super-happy to be here and glad to wear this uniform. The fans know I’m more than proud of performing in front of them. I try my best every time I got out there. It’s just a couple of haters out there always flipping things around. I can’t control that. If you guys ask me a question I’m more than nice to give you an answer. It’s not like every time I bump into you guys I talk about my contract or anything like that. But if you guys come to me with a question what should I do, say ‘next’? You guys want an answer, right? That’s what I do.
“I’m tired myself, talking about contracts,” he said. “I think it’s disrespectful for someone out there to say I’m greedy and all I want to talk about is contracts.”
“When am I supposed to talk contracts, when I retire? It’s now, while I’m still playing,” said Ortiz. “No one gets a contract after you retire. A lot of them can go all day on those radio shows or whatever. They like to come out with their chest up and talk trash. Before you do that, you need to know who you’re going to talk about.”
“Haters man,” said Ortiz. “People hate. That’s the world we live in today. People are not comfortable when you’re doing well. That’s it, that’s the way I see it. I have not disrespected anyone as long as I’ve been here. I go by the business, do what I have to do, and win championships. That’s what any person that is a fan of any organization want from a player. That’s what I do.”
While he didn’t like to toot his own horn, last year’s World Series MVP took a chance to remind his haters what he’s done in his 11 years in Boston.
“In my time with this organization I think I’ve been honest, legit, and I’ve been one of the greatest to wear this uniform,” said Ortiz, who was fitted for his third World Series ring early Wednesday morning. “Some people forget about that. I don’t like to talk about that or sound like that, but sometimes you have to let them know.”
Ortiz said he always plays with a chip on his shoulder, and the haters play into it.
“That part of it motivates me to come in and kick ass,” he said. “I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m anxious and hungrier than ever. What we did last season doesn’t matter, I want to get another again and prove people wrong like I have my entire career. Then at the end of the season I sit at my house and laugh.”
As for any contract talks with the team, Ortiz’s agent, Fernando Cuza, is in Fort Myers and is expected to meet with the Red Sox ownership team in the next few days.
“I think we’re going to be fine,” Ortiz said on Wednesday. “Conversations are good, and my bosses are more than happy talking about what we’re talking about. They’re trying to get this out of the way so it doesn’t begin to be a distraction.
Red Sox owner John Henry told reporters on Wednesday the two sides will meet to discuss an extension.
“It’s conceivable and something we’ll talk about,” said Henry. “He’s meant so much to this franchise and New England for so long now. He’s helped carry us to three World Championships. I know where he’s coming from. He wants to finish his career here, and we should try to make that happen.”
Andy Gresh Reacts To Ortiz’s Comments:
Ortiz said it’s about 50-50 that something gets done soon, and while he hopes it doesn’t happen, there is a chance he wears a uniform other than the Red Sox before his playing days are over.
Ortiz knows he wants to continue playing after this season, something he was unsure of at the All-Star break last season. But he said getting through 2013, which was a tough season for Ortiz as he came back from an Achilles injury to start the year, proved he could keep doing it, and he feels even better as 2014 gets underway.
And despite all the contract nonsense that is currently in the open, Ortiz’s focus remains on just one thing for 2014.
“My goal right now is to try to win another championship, and that’s all that matters to me right now,” said Ortiz. “The contract thing will get taken care of.”
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