boston.com Sports your connection to The Boston Globe
ONE-ON-ONE WITH DAVID ORTIZ

Homers, laughter have been plentiful

In an interview to be aired on NESN tonight, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz sat down with the Globe's Gordon Edes yesterday and talked about his fine season.

Q. Back in January, you're sitting in the Dominican Republic. You didn't have a contract, the Twins nontender you. Are you wondering about your baseball future?

A. Well, I knew I was definitely going to sign with somebody. I didn't know who, but I didn't know what was going to happen.

Q. Well think about this: Imagine where you were in January, and think about where you are today. They are talking about you as an MVP candidate in the American League.

A. Really? (Laughter)

Q. Yeah, here is how much they are really thinking about it. We did a poll on Boston.com and 50 percent of the voters voted for you for MVP, not for the Red Sox, but for the league.

A. That's great, it's a good feeling. A big part of the reason I have been doing well is the fans. They are really good.

Q. We all know the famous peanut butter story in Minnesota. Has anyone tried to do that to you here? In case you were wondering David had his clothes stolen out of his locker and frozen, right?

A. Yes. When we went to play the Twins in spring training, they took my clothes. I don't know how, but they stole my clothes and replaced them with jail clothes.

Q. And they put peanut butter in your underwear?

A. (Laughter) That was disgusting.

Q. It is easy to laugh about that now, but go back to early May. You weren't playing here, Shea Hillenbrand was, and when you did hit, that hawk that comes out of right field was knocking balls down that would be home runs. [GM] Theo [Epstein] said he talked to your agent and there was some conversation that maybe it would be better for you to go somewhere else.

A. Yeah, you know, it was tough in the beginning. It doesn't matter what I get done on the field, it was always going to be the bench. Everyone in life wants to move up and get an opportunity to perform and show people what you can do. I kept patient, I just keep working.

Q. Kevin Millar said it takes a certain kind of person to play in Boston and succeed here. Only certain types of people can deal with the pressure. You seem to love the pressure. Are you comfortable here?

A. I don't like to say this, but I grew up in pressure. Somebody was asking what the pressure would be if we made the playoffs. This is a ballgame, you need to enjoy it. If you put pressure on, you won't be able to do it. Q. When you say you grew up with pressure, you mean not knowing where your next meal is coming from, or your next pair of sneakers.

A. Now at my age I got my family, my wife, my kids. The feeling for the game is a little different. You got your family to depend on you. But always the love of the game will be there.

Q. How much better do you think things are for Manny [Ramirez] now that you are here?

A. I don't know. People tell me all the time things are different, but I never played with Manny so I can't tell you what's different.

Q. When I told Pedro [Martinez] that you invited me to the Dominican Republic over the winter, he said if I see you, I will see him and Manny, that's how close you guys are now.

A. We are close. They make the game look easy; sometimes you don't know how they do it, but they get it done. When you get the message, it's all about working hard.

Q. You won the Caribbean World Series with a home run for the Dominican Republic. How will that compare if Boston wins a World Series?

A. It will be crazy. Not even close. [In Boston] they have been waiting for a long time for a World Series; some people say they will never forget about it.

The Ortiz interview, edited for TV, will be broadcast on the Globe's "SportsPlus" on NESN tonight after the Red Sox-Orioles game. To view the interview in its entirety, log on to Boston.com after tonight's broadcast.

SEARCH GLOBE ARCHIVES
 
Globe Archives Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months