Whenever our beloved Red Sox get the best of the pinstriped rivals down in New York, there are few things better than it. And by that, I actually meant nothing is better. In a recent article by Christian Red on nydailynews.com, Boston DH David Ortiz is quoted saying that the rumors of legendary former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner ripping into current GM Brian Cashman after not signing Ortiz to the Yankees following his release from the Minnesota Twins are in fact true.
“It’s a true story because a lot of important people have told me about it. Even (Brian) Cashman one time made comments about it,” Ortiz says during a break from hosting his eighth annual Celebrity Golf Classic charitable event, which provides pediatric heart care to disadvantaged children in New England and Ortiz’s native Dominican. “I met (Steinbrenner) one time. Very interesting man. The way people picture him is exactly the same as the way that he was. He was a baseball lover. He was the one guy that wanted to make sure his team was the best.”
In less than two years of signing with Boston, Ortiz was a monumental piece to the 2004 Red Sox team during the ALCS match-up against the Yankees by launching two crucial and super-clutch extra inning homeruns in games three and four. The team would eventually go on to win the World Series, ending an 86 year championship drought for the Sox and crushing the souls of Yankees fans worldwide (the best part, of course).
Since then, Ortiz has been nothing short of a god in the eyes of Boston fans. His clutch bat and the sheer terror he creates for opposing pitchers behind the plate has been a major contributing factor as to why the Red Sox have been able to capture three World Series in less than ten years.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who had a front row seat to Ortiz leading his team to come back from three games down in the 2004 ALCS, knew Ortiz was a good hitter that could be a great player, but never imagined he would turn out to be such an important piece to a franchise.
Said Torre: “When you mention him, I go back to his days in Minnesota. He was a good hitter, but you never realized he was going to have the impact on the game and of course on the franchise that he’s had. I had him on a couple of All-Star teams. He’s a fun-loving guy.”
Reading that Steinbrenner was quite unhappy about Ortiz never donning the pinstripes only confirmed just how happy it makes me to see the Yankees come up short, but also how much I loved seeing The Boss disgruntled. With no disrespect to the deceased, I break up my level of hatred for the Yankees into two parts: B.S. (“Before Steinbrenner,” also known as an era in which New York spent an asinine amount of money on the best of the best throughout the league to essentially buy their championships and he made it so much easier to hate them), and A.S. (“After Steinbrenner,” even though the son is co-owner, it’s a different type of hatred that can be described only as a little softer due to the Sox winning three titles and not signing such dislikable guys as years past). With that being said, despising the Yankees will always be part of our DNA as Sox fans, but it seemed so much sweeter when George was at the helm.
As a moment to reflect on just how fortunate we as Boston fans are to have our beloved David “Big Papi” Ortiz and never have to worry what life might have been like had he gone to New York (seriously, don’t even let it cross your mind), it only feels right to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite games in Red Sox history. One of the many, many times no. 34 carried us to the promised land.