The discussions of David Ortiz and his comments last night about not being recognized as a team leader have brought out some very different perspectives on the longtime Red Sox DH.
If you missed it, Gordon Edes (David Ortiz blasts naysayers) had a column running down Ortiz’s comments, where he calls out the media for how he believes they anoint team leaders:
“Well, let me tell you, I was reading an article [that] talked about the leaders people call ‘leaders’ in this town,” he said. “Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.
“And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?”
To an extent, Ortiz has a point. When the subject of Red Sox team leaders comes up – and it has numerous times over the last eight months or so – the names most commonly brought up have been Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia. Even over the years, Ortiz has never really been viewed in that role. He’s been assigned the “chemistry guy” role, where everyone loves him, and he serves as a bridge between the latin players and the American players.
Edes cites Mike Aviles as someone who praised Ortiz as a leader, and John Tomase (David Ortiz leads by example) has Daniel Bard also praising Ortiz, saying:
“He’s a leader, whether he likes it or not,” Bard said. “Everyone listens to him and respects him because of what he’s done. . . . Very few guys like to call team meetings, since it’s not a positive thing. It’s not fun to tell your teammates to pick it up, but sometimes it’s needed. What better guy to do it?”
The Tomase column is completely flattering to Ortiz. Then we come to Kirk Minihane. (Delusional David Ortiz strikes again)
I like Kirk. I think he often makes points that need to be made. Unfortunately, I think more often, he takes a controversial stance just for the challenge of it, and to bring attention to himself.
I think he took things a little to far this time. If you read Edes’ column above, Ortiz had a lot more to say than the follow bit, which is what Minihane choose to focus on and target with laser-like intensity:
To Ortiz, there is a lack of respect for what he has tried to do in his decade here.
“I don’t get no respect,” he said. “Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It’s always hiding, for somebody to find out.”
Minihane blasts Ortiz, saying that he has received nothing but positive press during his time in Boston. (In the plus column for Kirk, this means he hasn’t read any Dan Shaughnessy columns since 2003)
He then goes and makes a few veiled allegations about Ortiz and his late-career resurgence.
The media doesn’t respect him? Really? Again, find me all the critical pieces on Ortiz over the years. The media gave him an absolute free pass on the steroid stuff, closed their eyes and collectively walked away from it. And you know why? They like Ortiz – he’s jokes around with them in the locker room and is always accessible. It’s that simple. And now we are reading stories about Ortiz’s remarkable late-career production that never mention his PED history. I mean, if the media truly didn’t respect Ortiz wouldn’t there be a lot more speculation as to how Ortiz has a 1.019 OPS at age 36?
(Oh, forget it. NESN.com has gone Woodward and Bernstein on me, right when I wasn’t looking. Here’s the headline from this morning: “Mike Aviles, David Ortiz Credit Healthy Diets for Continued Success This Season.” Here’s one highlight — “Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has taken a cue on adhering to a diet as well. In an attempt to reduce his cholesterol –– and avoid taking medicine –– the 36-year-old trimmed roughly 20 pounds by cutting out alcohol and munching on more vegetables.” Sold. Didn’t we used to read this stuff about guys back in 1998 with no irony?)
The whole bit is very Mike Felger-like, which I assume is what Kirk is aiming for. Maybe it’s just me, but I read this almost as threatening. Listen Ortiz, don’t you turn on the media, or we will unleash a maelström of PED allegations on you so fast your head will spin.
Edes had an updated post this afternoon: What Ortiz was talking about last night where he notes that Ortiz was referring to – shockingly – a summary of a Felger and Mazz show that was posted on the 98.5 website. On that show, the duo – in angry voices, no doubt – demanded to know what took so long to call the meeting which is now being credited with helping to turn things around.
It seems that the real part of Ortiz’s comments that should’ve been focused on, was this line – Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.
Ortiz has a gripe there. He called the meeting, and what do the Tony Massarotti’s of the world say? How come he didn’t do it sooner?
Some reporters in town do treat Ortiz with kid gloves. The Tomase piece is a great example. Others play it down the middle, as Edes did. Then you have the Minihanes, Felgers and Massarottis of the world, which unfortunately is where the slant of most sports coverage is right now.