BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox won in walk-off fashion on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, and David Ortiz was right in the thick of it. The Sox’ designated hitter ripped a solo homer down the line in right field in the bottom of the 10th inning to tie the game at 1-1, and Mike Napoli smashed a solo homer in the next at-bat to seal a sweep for Boston.
So you’d think David Ortiz would be pretty happy after the game.
You’d be wrong.
Inside the winning clubhouse, Ortiz remained pretty steamed about a decision made by the official scorer in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ortiz had sent a missile at first baseman Joe Mauer, and Mauer misplayed the ball, thereby allowing Ortiz to reach base. It was ruled an error, and Ortiz let his disagreement be known by gesturing toward the press box to plead his case that it should have been ruled a single.
After the game, Ortiz explained that his issues with the scoring at Fenway Park go back a number of years.
“It’s always so hard here, man. I thought people were supposed to have your back at home, you know what I’m saying? And it never happens. It’s always like that,” a frustrated Ortiz said. “I’ve been here for more than a decade, and the scorekeepers here are always horrible. This is home, man.”
Ortiz later added: “It’s something that’s getting out of control.”
Ortiz said that because Mauer made a diving attempt at the ball before booting it, the play should have been ruled a hit.
“What is he watching? He’s not watching the same ballgame that everybody’s watching, I guess,” Ortiz said.
As for his demonstrative gestures to the press box from field level, Ortiz didn’t express any regrets.
“I’ve got to make it clear. It’s not my first rodeo,” he said. “You know how hard it is to get a hit, man?”
This isn’t the first time Ortiz has publicly expressed beef with the official scorer. He came charging through a door to interrupt a Terry Francona press conference in 2011, going on a profanity-filled tirade that he didn’t get credit on an RBI single due to the Fenway official scorer that night ruling an error in left field on the play. And earlier this season, with Rangers ace Yu Darvish working on a perfect game, Ortiz sent a sky-high pop-up into shallow right field which was misplayed by the second baseman and right fielder. The ball fell to the ground and was ruled an error, but Ortiz petitioned MLB and the decision was eventually changed to a hit.
That history seems to have emboldened him to be so outspoken in this instance.
“It always looks like I am the bad guy, but they always end up changing it,” Ortiz said.
That may be true, and he may have a case with this particular play. But the fact remains that Ortiz may be the only professional baseball player to get so upset at official scoring decisions that he vents loudly to the media about it. Ortiz is a man with more than 8,500 plate appearances in the majors, so he knows by now that these things tend to even out.
And there are no records of Ortiz getting credit for a hit when it should have been ruled an error, followed by Ortiz petitioning MLB to erase his hit from the records, all for the sake of fairness.
No, Ortiz was mad in the seventh because the Red Sox were having a bear of a time scoring runs against a miserable Minnesota pitching staff, and he himself was 0-for-2 to that point in the game, stuck in a stretch in which he was hitting just .160 in the past month. It makes sense that he was mad.
Why he was mad after a walk-off victory, well, that’s because he’s David Ortiz. You can criticize it and be outraged by it, or you could show no interest at all, but by now, everybody knows that David Ortiz is who David Ortiz is. He’s going to go on some wild and crazy rants (this was not his first, not by a mile), he’s going to make no sense, and he’s going to let everyone within earshot know about it. He’s going to go on his rants, and do you know what he’s going to do next? He’s probably going to hit a home run to help the Red Sox win. He did that about a half-hour after this initial burst of rage on Wednesday.
Does the whole thing make him look bad? Of course. But the 10th-inning homer certainly makes him look pretty good when it’s all said and done.
Hopefully for David’s sake, he’ll use the long flight to the West Coast as an invitation to chill out just a bit.
The prospect of getting a road official scorer should put him in the right frame of mind.
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