David Ortiz busted into Terry Francona’s press conference on Thursday, angry that the official scorer changed a call from the night before and took an RBI away from him. He shouted a few choice words and departed.
An enterprising cameraman caught the exchange and it has become a topic of much discussion in Boston and even elsewhere.
A few thoughts . . .
• Ortiz was mostly joking and he and Francona were laughing about it a few minutes later. If you follow the media coverage, people who don’t actually bother to go into the clubhouse thought this story was a big deal. People who actually cover the team thought it was funny.
• Baseball players are defined by their numbers. Arbitration hearings that determine their salaries are largely a math equation. It’s silly, but a hitter with 3,000 hits is a lock for the Hall of Fame and a guy with 2,950 isn’t. You can’t tell players not to care about their numbers because that’s all anybody cares about. If Ortiz hits 30 home runs and drives in 100 runs, he will be viewed differently than he if has 29 and 99. It’s crazy but it’s true.
• Every single player, manager and coach in baseball is absolutely convinced the official scorer in their home park is out to get them. The guys in uniform think the home town scorer should favor them. The scorers (well, most of them) think they should get it right. This conflict has been going on forever. Players complain about scoring decisions every single day. All Ortiz did was take it public.
• Finally, if we’re to a point where David Ortiz cursing is a big deal, we really need to get a life. He is the William Safire of obscenity. If the Pope came to his locker before the game, he’d ask him how the (bleep) he was doing and the Pope would laugh.
It was not a big deal. It really wasn’t. Whatever the next silly story is, let’s get to that,