Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food for Thought

And a quick word on a small matter across the aisle. It's something I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks now, something sparked by the wealth of thoughts on the woes of one David Ortiz as chronicled and just about eulogized by folks in and out of New England. Folks in places from NESN to ESPN to MLC have lamented Big Papi's plight, and rightfully so. He has sucked. Sucked bad. And it has to be painful to see a guy who once carried this club to new heights with his performance and his spirit now apparently left bereft of both.

I'm not suggesting that the collective groans, head-shakes, and resignation of the Nation that Ortiz's days are numbered are completely ill-conceived. Nope, he may well fade quickly and ignominiously into the sunset with some steroid theories to grease the skids.

On the other hand . . .

Let's quickly consider the 2004 World Series championship. A cursory scan of our pages from that whole month -- and the months that followed -- remind a reader of the pure bliss and gleeful release that the '04 win triggered in our one in-house Sox fan. Similar reactions were featured everywhere from Newton to Newfoundland to New Mexico. And in 2005, South Siders everywhere rejoiced in an even longer (if less poetically heralded) drought coming to an end.

That level of joy was something you could not find in Miami after the 2004 World Series. While we were all glad the Yankees lost, seeing the Marlins win their 2nd World Series in their first decade or so of existence was impressive but not fodder for a movie, book, etc. It didn't tug heartstrings or even evoke a warm smile. It was simply another baseball result. Even the 2007 Red Sox win, while obviously enjoyed and remembered fondly, in no way whatsoever could compare to its predecessor three years prior. You had to have been a Sox fan in the valley for so long to appreciate the rise to the mountaintop in 2004. Staying atop those mountains -- impressive, not storybook.

So what David Ortiz has done for millions of Boston die-hards (and bandwagoners) has been to now set a stage where he can singularly bring a much smaller but still palpable version of that feelgood dramatic moment into a realm where another trophy would not. And he's really had to stink up the joint this bad to make this many people wallow in his own misery. He's looked worse than his stats. He seems oddly out of place on a baseball field. He makes fans almost wish he'd get hurt or retire so they didn't have to witness him in this condition.

But if he came come storming back, even for one glorious last hurrah, the bedlam in Beantown could resume. For Pete's sake, the guy's a 33-year-old (maybe) DH, this isn't out of the realm of possibility. Left for dead in May and June, the table is set for him to hit 10 dingers in August, a dozen more in September, and catapult the Sox into the postseason, blah blah blah . . . Imagine the rejoicing then.

So maybe let's hold off for just a little longer on the 21-gun salute and the Sox flag draped over his casket. I suppose the more maudlin Rob, Bill Simmons & Co are now, the greater the revelation will be down the road, but I'll be watching old Papi's box scores and I've got a feeling he's not dead yet. Stay tuned.

The next controversy will be when we discover he was tanking it for two months for dramatic effect . . .


rob said...

this post might have been more dramatic had it not come in the midst of a 7-game papi hitting streak that's featured 2 taters and 2 doubles and a .900+ ops. nonetheless, point taken.

Whitney said...

Yeah, it occurred to me last week but I figured I couldn't get away with commenting on your team when I hadn't posted anything on mine of late.

Still, that 2 HRs in 7 games for him is noteworthy says a lot.