Motivation comes from different places for all of us. For athletes, it often comes via the media.
Bill Belichick is famous for finding quotes in stories that are even slightly disparaging about the Patriots and making sure his players hear about them. Preseason predictions also make good fodder. The “nobody believes in us” theme works for plenty of coaches or managers regardless of whether it’s actually true or not.
So it was no great surprise that David Ortiz posted this message on Twitter yesterday:
Finishing my workout to have another monster season for all those media hater that still doubting!!!
The slightly misspelled tweet included a photograph of a svelte-looking Ortiz at the gym in a sweat-stained shirt.
Ortiz is angry because a number of columnists and radio personalities took him to task after he lobbied for a contract extension in December and again during a television interview in January.
The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote that Ortiz was “tone-deaf, selfish, and offensive.”
Back in December, the Herald’s Steve Buckley wrote that Ortiz was “like an old vaudeville comic who keeps using the same act in city after city, year after year.”
Surely Dan and Buck are on the “media haters” list that Ortiz has in his head. He may even take it out on them for a day or two in spring training, although that never lasts. Ortiz is too gregarious to stay in a foul mood very long.
The funny thing about Ortiz having a Nixonian media enemies list is how well he is treated by the press in Boston. Everybody likes the guy and goodness knows he has given us plenty of exciting things to write about over the years. Ortiz is one of the few athletes you usually get a honest answer from and the “Big Papi” personality is one we cheerfully propagate for the most part.
Can you imagine if Alex Rodriguez stood watching his home runs and jogged slowly around the bases? Or if he dropped a f-bomb on live television? Or if another 38-year-old player asked for a contract extension with $15 million left on his deal?
The Red Sox have made it clear, on numerous occasions, they want Ortiz to retire with the team, so all of his hubbub in the Hub is probably meaningless. But Ortiz is trying to get more guaranteed money out of the team now after seeing some of the contracts doled out this winter. You can disagree with his methods, but he’s got a good point given the state of baseball’s economy.
Ben Cherington and John Farrell surely loved that tweet. If being mad at Shaughnessy kept Ortiz on the treadmill another 15 minutes, that works for them.