David Ortiz held court for nearly 20 minutes today with a large throng of reporters, speaking about his struggles at the plate and addressing Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension. Some of his thoughts:
On speaking to Ramirez:
"Itís hard, man. You canít even reach out to Manny when Manny was here. You think I'm kdding, but Iím serious. Who knows. He always changes numbers. When we were here playing together, OK, letís meet at the lobby at noon to have lunch and go to field. Next thing you know, calling his phone, room, and you canít reach him. And you just talked to him an hour ago."
On Ramirez's suspension:
"This situation shocked me. The guy worked hard every day, and itís going to be something crazy and hard to deal with. Hopefully he knows whatís up, learns from his mistake, does the right thing."
Should it change how Ramirez's accomplishments are viewed?
"Hopefully not. One thing I know about Manny, heís a hard worker. One thing people forget about is ... we get tested every year tons of times.
And he told me Ö Iím not saying anything about him. I donít really know. I seriously donít know. This news has shocked me, because I remember when Manny was here, the trainer would give him Tylenol because he was sore or something and he would throw it in the garbage. He wouldnít take it.
This news here, he needs to speak out and let people know whatís up, so people understand, because thatís another thing that gets people confused. He hasnít said anything."
On if the news upset him:
It confused me. It confused me. But thatís something I donít really want to talk about it. It made me feel confused for a minute.
On advice he's received from around the league:
"Actually, I got everybody trying to get me going. [After the] Sunday game, I received like, I would say, 50 to 70 messages, text messages, from everybody around the league. Oh yeah. Ryan Howard. Carlos Delgado. Alex Cora. Everybody. Just telling me, 'You know how good you are and how good you can be. Things arenít always going to be flowers and roses. We learn from our mistakes and what doesnít break you makes you stronger. So donít listen to any of the crap that people have to say. Youíve done a whole bunch of things to get it done, and youíre going to get it done again.'
On ESPN's shot of him looking dejected:
That was right after one at-bat, popped it up, really frustrated at the time. I guess the camera was all over me and everyone saw that and was kind of worried about me.
Delgado and I, we talked for like an hour. He was on his way to the park. Ryan Howard called me, ĎHey, forget about it, thatís already in the past. Youíre a great human being, guy. Youíre a great player. Sometimes when we pay attention to those comments, it doesnít really make you happy. It seems like itís fun for people to see you fail, but people have never put themselves in that situation, thatís why never have to pay attention to any of that. Go out and do your thing and have fun. Love yourself.í
Iíve always been a huge fan of Delgado. When he was in the AL East, he always used to talk to me about things, and I would have questions for him. Last year when he was going through all that, I was one of the guys really worried about his situation.
People donít know. Sometimes they think we just come here to play baseball and thatís it. Weíre human beings like everyone else. We have things to worry about. Sometimes, that gets in the way. Itís hard to have that free open mind you need to play this game. Thereís no way you can play this game with a busy mind. No way. No way. Physically I am better than ever. I have no troubles physically. But sometimes this game gets in your head and you kind of get depressed for a minute. It can be for the situation youíre dealing with that wonít let you focus and people have no idea about that.
All people think about it is heís not hitting, pitching, fielding well. When those guys call you up to give you support, they know, because theyíve been in the same situation as you. They know whatís up. They talk to you straight up about what it really is. They make you feel good, like a million bucks."