Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

The Error of David Ortiz's Ways is Just Not Letting Go

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David Ortiz could have shrugged it off as nothing, a brain cramp of selfishness that should have diminished after he and Mike Napoli helped snatch a 2-1, 10-inning win from the Minnesota Twins Wednesday, hitting back-to-back solo home runs to seal the dramatics.

And whatís the big deal, really, anyway? The man thought he had a hit in the seventh inning, instead ruled an error on Twins first baseman Joe Mauer. Napoli grounded into a double play to end the frame, and as he walked off the field, Ortiz just gave a few wondering gestures toward the press box, where the official scorer had his ďScrew David OrtizĒ pen working generously. Itís not like Ortiz stood at first base, in the middle of a 0-0 game, and flipped the bird at Bob Ellis. If I have to ponder the existence of ďNESN ClubhouseĒ in between innings, why canít Ortiz do a little side work himself? What, like he needs to get his head in the game to spit sunflower seeds as his teammates grab their gloves?

Oh, but the hand-wringing from the baseball media when Ortiz displayed his displeasure at the scorerís decision late in the game. You might have thought the designated hitter dropped trou and did his business in the batterís box based on the ďtsk, tskĒ outcry from the esteemed members of the BBWAA.

Yeah, it was a little stupid and a bit selfish, whining about it when youíre hitting .246 for the season, but itís not like we havenít been here before. Ortiz won his appeal to Major League Baseball back in May that awarded him a seventh-inning hit in lieu of the error recorded as Rangers starter Yu Darvish was tossing a perfect game against the Red Sox. I suppose the bigger question is, why the hell is this appeal process even part of the Major League Baseball structure anyway? Just silly.

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Iím guessing that Ortiz just might have his agent, Fernando Cuza, file a similar appeal this time. Because while you would think that hitting a dramatic home run in the 10th inning might be enough to get over it, this is David Ortiz we are talking about. As much as New England loves him, thereís a whole lot of truth to David Priceís claim that Ortiz sees himself as ďbigger than the game.Ē

The 10th inning should have shut everybody up, but Ortiz just canít help himself in these situations, like a Dominican Bill Bixby, swatting home runs one moment, whining about infield scoring decisions the very next.

ďWe tie the game. We win the game. It doesnít get any better,Ē he said. ďBut I want my hit back anyway.Ē

That ďhitĒ would improve Ortizís batting average this season from .246 heading into Thursdayís game at Oakland, to .250. Not exactly Ted Williams aiming to hit .400. But if itís that mentality that drives Ortiz to provide moments like he did later in the game, so be it. As long as he eventually shuts up about the scoring decision after the game, right?

ďItís always so hard here, man,Ē Ortiz said. ďI tell you Ė people are supposed to have your back at home. It never happens. Itís always like that. Iíve been here more than a decade and the scorekeepers here are always horrible. This is home, man. What do you want Mauer to do? He dove for the ball Ė he knocked it down. I always look like I am the bad guy but they always end up changing it. Donít just be checking on Papi. Check on the scorekeeper. See what heís doing wrong. Itís something that Ö itís getting out of control.

ďWhat is he watching?,Ē Ortiz said. ďHeís not watching the same ballgame that everybody is watching, I guess. I got to make it clear. Itís not my first rodeo, man. You know how hard it is to get a hit, man?Ē

Isnít that more of a question for Jackie Bradley, Jr.?

Red Sox manager John Farrell, of course, defended Ortiz, just as former skipper Terry Francona did in 2011, making up some story or another about why Ortiz burst into a press conference, angry about an overturned scoring decision that denied him an RBI. Whatís the difference in the grand scheme? Ortiz has his money and three rings. He has adoration and a plaque at Fenway Park. Heíll go down as one of the best left-handed hitters to ever play in Boston.

But the way heís wired, you almost have to wonder if heís more apt to one day remember that June afternoon when he should have gotten that hit as opposed to the accolades. We all use spite and comeuppance as sources of motivation. If Ortiz used Bob Ellis as his in the 10th inning, does anybody really have a problem with that?

But if anybody needs a filter in moments like these, itís Ortiz, who feeds right into the Keepers of the Game with his inability to let go of even the most menial aspect between the lines. Hit? Error? Besides Ortiz, nobody, absolutely nobody, cares. The Red Sox will appeal the situation on Ortizís behalf anyway, because that is what they do; whatever their star slugger demands.

Then again, Ortiz showed exactly why they do with one, extra-inning swing on a hazy Wednesday afternoon.

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