BOSTON (CBS) — If David Ortiz has your back, then you better have his. Otherwise, things are going to get ugly.
That much was made very, very clear in an excerpt from David Ortiz’s new book, “Papi: My Story,” which ran on Sports Illustrated’s website this week. In it, the retired slugger was not kind to Bobby Valentine, who managed the Red Sox in their miserable 2012 season.
“It was all about him in the spring,” Ortiz said of Valentine in the book. “It was as if he wanted to prove how smart he was by running us through all these drills he’d used while managing in Japan, drills we had never done before. Bobby was in his own bubble, and I just wanted to get him out of it and tell him, ‘F— you.'”
Ortiz said that after Valentine aired out Mike Aviles in front of the whole team, the veteran leaders tried to talk to Valentine about what the players thought of him.
“It was a waste of time,” Ortiz said. “We tried reasoning with him, and it was like communicating with a wall. All he did was roll his eyes and look everywhere but at us.”
Ortiz summed up Valentine quite succinctly: “The simplest way I can put it is that he didn’t treat people well. He didn’t get a chance to hire all his own coaches, and I think he held it against the coaches themselves. He even called a meeting, with the entire team, and accused his coaches of backstabbing him.”
It’s certainly not the first time that Ortiz has laid in to Valentine. Ortiz has stated in the past that he publicly defended Valentine all year long in 2012, despite the manager being a bit of a trainwreck. But when Valentine called out Ortiz after the season for quitting on the team, Ortiz opened up about the manager.
The excerpt also includes details from Ortiz about his separation and reunion with his wife around that same time, as well as Ortiz’s now-famous speech delivered at Fenway Park the week of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I said something that I hadn’t planned to,” Ortiz explained. “It came from the pressure building up that entire week, finally being released. I looked at the sellout crowd, and to their surprise, and mine, I said, ‘This is our f—— city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.’
“There was applause. Then there was music. It must have taken me a few seconds to realize, as I was walking off the field, that I’d said “f——.” I began thinking, Oh s—, I think I screwed up. But when I got close to the police and the mayor, they high-fived me hard.
“To my surprise, I didn’t get in trouble for what I said. It was the opposite. What I said became a rallying cry for some people. That’s one of the reasons I fit so well in Boston. That’s my personality too. Try to knock me out, and it’s not going to happen. I’ll always take on the fight.”
Ortiz discussed the 2013 World Series, in which he batted .688 in earning MVP honors. Ortiz blamed the opposing manager, Mike Matheny, for being too stubborn to pitch around the DH.
“I was locked in and the Cardinals continued to pitch to me. And I knew the reason,” Ortiz said. “Their manager, Mike Matheny, was a former catcher. And catchers, in their minds, think they can get a mother—— out anytime. They don’t understand that when a mother—— is hot, he’s hot. Then the whole team gets hot. That’s how it works, and that’s eventually what happened to us in Game 6.”