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In his five years with the Minnesota Twins, David “Big Papi” Ortiz struck me as a player with awesome potential who persistently underperformed, partly as a result of injuries and partly as a result of poor coaching. The Twins sought to turn him into a singles hitter. As he put it, “They tried to make me hit like a girl!” There’s actually a lot of that going around.

Regardless of his level of performance with the Twins, Ortiz’s behavior was that of a gentle giant. At one game I attended with my two youngest daughters, we arrived early to watch batting practice from great seats in the first row. We said hello to Ortiz, waiting his turn on the field immediately below us. He casually went over to the dugout and returned with a pail of bubble gum to hand up to my kids through the railing. We remember.

The Twins let Ortiz get away in 2002 after his best season with the team. We were sorry to see him move on to the Red Sox. In Boston, however, Ortiz caught fire, helping the Sox to overcome the curse of the Bambino in 2004 with their first World Series championship since the Ruth trade.

The return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park today coincided with the return of Ortiz to the lineup, back from a nagging injury. “Big Papi addressed the crowd just before the game got underway, punctuating his remarks with a poignant and profane note of resolve,” they note over at the Puffington Host: “This jersey that we’re wearing today it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox.’ It says, ‘Boston.’ We want to thank you for you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department, for the great job that they did this past week,” Ortiz said. “This is our f****** city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”

This week Boston is America’s city and we can all join in Ortiz’s defiant declaration.

Via The Hope for America.

JOHN adds this UPDATE:

Ortiz won’t be fined by the FCC for his F-bomb:

“David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game,” outgoing FCC head Julius Genachowski tweeted. “I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.”

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