Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz received a warm ovation from the crowd at Yankee Stadium in his final visit to the Bronx.
David Ortiz‘s last trip to Yankee Stadium as a member of the Boston Red Sox didn’t turn out exactly as he would have expected. Honestly, he probably didn’t know what to expect from fans in the Bronx that he so often devastated throughout his career with clutch hits to defeat the Yankees.
Would they boo him? Would they pretend to have no interest at all? There was even a rumor that fans planned to drop their pants and moon him as he was introduced. Ortiz had to be ready for anything.
What he got turned out to be nothing like that. Ortiz received a warm ovation from Yankees fans as he was introduced in a pregame ceremony to honor the last game of his career at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees presented him with a leather-bound book of handwritten notes from Yankees players past and present. Ortiz has received a lot of interesting gifts during his retirement tour this season, but this may have been the most thoughtful.
"“I thought tonight, the gift he received, the leather-bound notebook, might be the most meaningful that we’ve seen him receive this year on his (farewell) tour,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “The number of personal notes, those are meaningful. And that took a lot of coordination, a lot of time and effort by a number of people. It was really a touch of class for a very good and great organization.”"
For a charismatic player that is beloved by fans, teammates and even opponents, it’s no surprise that so many players that Ortiz has crossed paths with in his career were willing to contribute.
After all, Big Papi is kind of a big deal.
Speaking of former Yankees that Ortiz has faced in the past, Mariano Rivera made an appearance to deliver another gift – an oil paining of Ortiz tipping his cap to Yankee Stadium. You know it’s a special occasion when Mo is involved.
If Ortiz was blown away by the reception from the fans sitting in the stands, he must have been even more shocked by what happened on the field. Only in this case, not in a good way. After the Red Sox had obliterated New York’s postseason aspirations with a crushing four-game sweep at Fenway Park earlier this month, the Yankees got their revenge by taking all three games in this series.
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Boston managed to clinch the AL East this week despite being swept, but backing into that title isn’t how they wanted to do it. Watching the Red Sox celebrate their division title in the clubhouse moments after a gut-wrenching loss resulting from a walk-off grand slam was a surreal moment. It was almost as bizarre as hearing “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Ortiz went without a hit in a series at Yankee Stadium for the first time as a member of the Red Sox. After all the highlights Ortiz has had against the Yankees in his career, we all expected one last memorable moment. It didn’t happen. Ortiz’s final trip to Yankee Stadium turned out to be a dud.
The ceremony and gifts were a classy touch by the Yankees, but if they really wanted to give Ortiz a going away present they should have given him a win or two so the Red Sox could keep up in the race for the league’s best record. Even after sweeping Boston, the Yankees are four games out of a Wild Card spot with three games to play, so it’s not as if those wins do them any good.
Ortiz’s final trip to the Bronx was hardly the storybook ending he would have preferred, but the respect shown by the team’s most bitter rival makes it a memorable ending nonetheless. Yankees fans stood up and showed their respect with gracious applause to say farewell to a formidable foe.
Now they can cheer the fact that they’ll never have to face Ortiz again.