In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Red Sox and David Ortiz.
Every year, it seems, there is a player who is going on a farewell tour. And this year, it’s David Ortiz.
But this year, the farewell tour is a bit more complicated. Because David Ortiz is more complicated. Yes, he is one of the most beloved figures in 21st Century baseball, and seems to be a pretty cool guy. But there are some things that will make this farewell tour a little uneasy.
First, there’s the steroid talk. David Ortiz has never officially tested positive for anything in his career, but he reportedly was one of those who tested positive when MLB did preliminary testing in 2003 to get an idea of how many MLB players may have been using PEDs before true official drug testing began in 2004. Again, this is not official, but it’s been said to have happened. And Papi himself has admitted that at certain times in his career he wasn’t 100% sure what he was putting in his body.
Secondly, there were his comments this spring on domestic abuse. They were utterly tone-deaf, and a reminder how far baseball- and society- has to go in handling and dealing with these issues.
And lastly, and by far the least important, is how he was on the field. David Ortiz was a good, and often great, player, but he was no slam-dunk Hall-of-Famer like some previous people who got retirement tours, such as Cal Ripken, Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
So will David Ortiz get a retirement tour? Yes. Will he deserve it?
That’s less clear.
Next: The A’s.