What Career Downslide? David Ortiz Isn't Slowing Down Yet

Stephen StoneContributor IJuly 12, 2010

It wasn’t that long ago when fans wondered if David Ortiz would ever hit another home run. Today, he’s one of the league leaders in the category and is the 2010 Home Run Derby Champion.

Not bad for a guy who hit two dingers combined in the past two Aprils.

In 2009, Ortiz suffered through his worst spring since coming to Boston. People blamed his age and the lack of Manny Ramirez from the Boston lineup, his partner in crime who was traded mid-season in 2008. Then he started heating up. He hit 27 home-runs from June to September, ending with a respectable total of 28.

History repeated itself this April, and we wondered if he would get it going again this season. Another year older, and with even less protection in the lineup, not many people thought that lightning would strike twice. To our surprise, it has. Papi is an All-Star, and is playing like the postseason hero that led Boston to its first World Series victory in 86 years back in 2004.

Tonight was a culmination of David Ortiz’s epic comeback. He is the Home Run Derby champion; the king of the power hitters.

Even the Angels fans, who booed Ortiz during the introductions, had to respect David’s performance tonight.By the end of the final round, the Angels fans were standing and cheering for the man who dominated them in the postseason for most of the past decade.

Ortiz won tonight with strategy. Although the 20-home-run round gets people talking around the water cooler the next day, it rarely wins the derby. Papi put together three consistently high rounds, giving him just enough home runs to advance each time. His endurance was great enough to allow him to put 11 on the board in the final round, more than twice the amount of Hanley Ramirez, the runner up who was Ortiz’s protégé in Boston.

Ortiz will probably get at least one at bat tomorrow, so perhaps he’ll keep up his success in the stadium. If not, he can at least say that he participated in the 2010 All-Star festivities, something no one thought possible just a few short months ago. 

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