It seams like common practice now. As a Cooperstown bound player enters his twilight years, he announces which season will be his last, à la Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. and goes on a season long farewell tour. However, as is often the case, David Ortiz is going to do his own thing and not care what anybody else thinks.
Back in September, NESN’s Alison Smith asked Ortiz about Jeter’s final season and what he might do for his. Ortiz’s response was as follows:
“What Derek Jeter is doing is fine because he’s Derek Jeter” Ortiz said. “What Mariano did is fine because it’s Mariano. But I don’t know if I’m going to go through all that. I’m not going to wake up and be like, ‘I’m going to play this year and then not anymore.’ To me, it’s going to be how things go through the season and how I feel and then I’m going to be like, ‘Mama, it’s over.’ I’m going to let her know.”
Now, Ortiz is saying he’s not even sure when he’s going to retire. While visiting Massachusetts General Hospital on Thursday Ortiz spoke a bit more on the issue.
“I got to the point where I’ve got to take things day by day” Ortiz said. “I can’t be thinking about what’s going to happen from now to a year from now. I’m not going to say that I’m going to retire, but I’m not going to say that I’ve got three, four, five more years. I’m just going take things day by day, see how I feel.”
Ortiz has good reasons not to set a retirement date. He’s still performing at a very high level even as he nears the age of 39. He had 35 HRs and 104 RBIs, both slightly up from last year, and slashed a respectable .263/.355/.517. As long as Ortiz is still playing at the top of his game he can play until he’s 50 for all I care, and it sounds like David has a similar mind set. But as Ortiz says, it’s a day-to-day situation and careers can be finished in the blink of an eye, so it’s quite pragmatic of David to temper expectations and not set anything in stone.
Ortiz wants to play until he feels he’s no longer good enough, then he’ll bow out without the pomp and circumstance. But as the Camden Yards dugout phone can attest to, you never know what Big Papi is going to do until he does it. But considering the man just past the Teddy Ballgame for most 30 HR / 100 RBI seasons in a Red Sox uniform, if David Ortiz does want to go on one last farewell tour, I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would disapprove.