David Ortiz didn't have to rally his troops before battle against French during the reign of Henry V.
But he is without a doubt the leader of this 2013 Red Sox "Bearded Band of Brothers."
Nor did Ortiz have to steel an island nation against the impending peril of war against Nazi Germany.
"The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead. And war can no longer be confined to the battlefield."
Those were the words of King George VI [also known as Colin Firth and the great-grandfather of Princes William and Harry] on Sept 3, 1939, the day England declared war on Germany at the onset of World War II.
Sunday, Ortiz did spoke with the authority of a king to his Red Sox teammates and helped them tie the World Series with a 4-2 victory in Game 4 at St. Louis.
His words were simple:
Or something very close to it.
Big Papi didn't have to worry about a stuttering problem, unless you were talking about the Red Sox hitting with runners on base or the offensive production of their outfield in the World Series.
Oritz offered the Red Sox words of reassurance and confidence as they fought to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination in the World Series against a red menace that's also known as the St. Louis Cardinals.
His words of inspiration before the sixth inning were plain, yet effective.
"I told them to loosen up. I told them, 'Don’t do anything more than you're capable, don't force things out,'" he said. ‘‘I'm the veteran dude on this team, that’s why I have to say something. I sensed everyone was feeling down, frustrated, like a sinking boat.’’
"You think you're going to come to the World Series every year? You're wrong. We beat up a lot of good teams to get to this level," he added. "It took me five years to get back to this stage, and we had a better team than what we have right now and never made it, so take advantage of it."
Manager John Farrell called the dugout speech "timely."
It was not the first memorable soliloquy the Red Sox reigning monarch has delivered this season.
Ortiz's words to Boston on April 20 came days after the never-ending war against freedom struck Boston.
"This is our [expletive] city and no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
Those words forever re-christened Boston and helped to rally a region up from the carnage of two bombs and a city-wide manhunt that left four dead and hundreds injured. It also unwittingly at the time set the tone and trademark for a remarkable baseball season for the Red Sox and their fans that will continue at least until Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
Ortiz has has been Boston's lone consistent hitter in this series. He hitting .727 against the Cardinals, with a .750 on-base percentage and a 1.364 OPS. He's gotten on base seven straight times as of the end of Sunday's 4-2 victory in Game 4 at Busch Stadium that evened this Fall Classic In The Making.
"Any time this guy opens his mouth, you get everyone's attention. It was like 24 kindergarteners looking up at their teacher," Jonny Gomes said.
Left-field umpire Jim Joyce eventually ruled the pitch from Seth Maness was legally obstructed by Gomes' bat and awarded him four bases.
Before Gomes' home run, Boston's outfield had been a combined 4-for-40 in the World Series.
All season, Gomes has spoken brashly about how the story of the Red Sox has already been written and "we're just playing it out'' or how this team is just "another day closer to the parade."
The Improbable Dream continued with another night of improbability, including the following:
- Koji Uehara picking off Kolten Wong at first base with Carlos Beltran at the plate to end the game. The Red Sox had lost Game 3 when Will Middlebrooks was called for "obstruction." This time, it was Wong who obstructed any chance the Cardinals had to tie this thing up.
- John Lackey pitched a scoreless eighth in relief. He worked off another $5 or 6 million of that $82.5 million, five-year deal he signed with the Red Sox before the 2010 season.
- Felix Doubront, who barely made the postseason roster over Matt Thornton, retired the first eight hitters he faced before giving up a single with two outs in the seventh.
- The Red Sox overcame another rash of poor defensive plays and committed two more errors.
- Clay Buchholz threw four scorless innings and his shoulder didn't fall off in the process.
- Gomes was a late insertion into the lineup for the injured Shane Victorino.
- Stephen Drew got an RBI.
Then there's this, courtesy of the folks at Fox Sports:
It's been that kind of year for the Red Sox.
And was that kind of night for the Red Sox.
Game 5 is Monday.
Anything can happen. And probably will.
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