Ortiz has become the modern Red Sox time capsule, having been with the team through its greatest successes and its most monumental failures. For some perspective, he was with the team when Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez were with the Sox, and maybe it's just me, but that's seems like ages ago.
Further, Ortiz hit both his 100th and 400th career home runs with the Sox (and every homer in between). He has been a presence at Fenway Park for exactly the same amount of time as the coveted Green Monster seats, in which many of those home runs landed. He has played under four different Red Sox managers and witnessed the comings and goings of Sox notables such as Garciaparra, Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon.
Most strikingly, Ortiz is also the only player currently left on the team from the historic 2004 World Series win—the last remaining Idiot. Because of this, he is a source of nostalgia for fans; he conjures the memories from those long October nights full of uncertainty, yet brimming with the excitement that the championship was in reach. Those glory days are even more important to hold on to now for fans who endured the agony of the downward spiral of the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Ortiz has also been a source of strength and leadership for both his team and the fans through the darkest times, especially in the midst the disastrous past two seasons. His passion for the game and expressive personality certainly earned him the name Big Papi, but these personality traits have also proven to be helpful assets to the team in dark times.
He has made his home in Boston and the love he has for the city and the fans has been greatly evident over the years. This happiness was apparent just this past offseason during a press conference announcing his new contract with the Sox. His very well-dressed eight-year-old son, DeAngelo, joined him at the mic and it was announced that the younger Ortiz had signed a $5 contract with his father's team. The elder Ortiz laughed heartily and was loving it, but he was also proud. He was proud of his son and proud of his own legacy in Boston.
And while he thinks about retirement, Ortiz still isn't ready to shelve his bat. "The day is going to come where you're not able to do what you do," he said recently, per Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan. "And once that day shows up, you've got to take it to the house. You train yourself to get used to it. It happens to everybody. I don't want to be the guy who waits too long."
As he enters his 10th year with the Sox, we can look back on Ortiz's accomplishments with the team and the amount of time he has spent in Boston as a testament to how much has changed on Yawkey Way in the past decade. Players, managers, and front office staff have come and gone, ticket prices have risen and the order that the Red Sox had long prided themselves in now needs to be restored.
But through all of this, there is one thing Red Sox Nation can count on, at least for the next few years: Ortiz will show up on game day and he will be ready to play.