Red Sox Nation has a voracious appetite for all things Red Sox, and the Boston media does everything it can to ensure The Nation will have plenty to read about.
The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Providence Journal, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, numerous other newspapers, NESN, NECN , the sports departments of at least five television stations, ad infinitum —all of these media outlets battle one another for readership/viewership.
It’s all about the ratings. So the media constantly chases stories…and if the story doesn’t exist, they invent storylines to keep the readers buying newspapers or the viewers tuning in.
And so when Red Sox DH David Ortiz struggled this spring, the media swarmed on him and asked about last spring—a time when Big Papi scuffled mightily until finally snapping out of his malaise in early June.
Media talking heads have repeatedly wondered aloud about how long the club will "stick with" Ortiz if he starts the season slowly once again.
He has been asked questions on the subject ad nauseum since the first week in Fort Myers.
And so it should be no surprise that he launched into a profanity-laced tirade at the Boston media last night when queried about his 0-for-8 start to the season. When asked about his "slow start," Big Papi responded:
“You guys wait ’til (expletive) happens, then you can talk (expletive). Two (expletive) games, and already you (expletives) are going crazy. What’s up with that, man? (Expletive). (Expletive) 160 games left. That’s a (expletive). One of you (expletives) got to go ahead and hit for me.”
That’s one expletive for every six words uttered.
You know what I think? GOOD FOR ORTIZ!
Listen, it’s not like Ortiz was a complete bust last year. After his slow start, he led all of Major League Baseball in home runs from June 1st onward. His year-end batting average left a lot to be desired, but the fact of the matter is that after his slow start, he still drove in 99 runs.
The slow start of 2009 should be forgotten, dead, and buried! Why does the Boston media need to keep harping on the topic incessantly?
One word: Ratings!
But Ortiz doesn’t—and shouldn’t—give a hoot about ratings. His job is to hit a baseball and engage the press corps. And he has always done both extremely well. He has been affable, gregarious, and forthcoming with the press. But at some point in time, when the media persists in harping on the same tired issue, even an affable fellow like Ortiz has to draw a line in the sand.
Enough is enough!
Like any other informed media member, I wondered aloud why Terry Francona failed to pinch-hit Mike Lowell in place of Ortiz in the eighth inning of the second game when southpaw Damaso Marte was brought into the game. Ortiz was 2-for-14 against Marte in his career, with four strikeouts.
Any reporter or pundit who didn’t wonder about the Mind of Mencia (er, the Mind of Francona) isn’t competent enought to do his or her job. BUT THAT IS A QUESTION FOR FRANCONA, NOT ORTIZ.
How should anyone expect Ortiz to answer a question about whether he should have been pulled in favor of a pinch-hitter? “Oh, yeah, I should have been removed from the game!”
Any ballplayer who would answer that question in that manner is a ballplayer I don’t want on my favorite team!
So, when some moronic reporter asks a moronic question for the 300th time in the last five weeks, I have NO problem if Ortiz gives him—or them—a piece of his mind. It shows me there is still a fire in his belly. Personally, I like it.
Give ‘em hell, Papi.
Now go out and give some opposing pitchers some hell. After all, THAT is your job, too.