Could David Ortiz really play for the New York Yankees next season? Surely not. The Boston Red Sox's longest-tenured leader would be an incongruous fit for the Yankees anyway, given his lack of athleticism, his left-handedness at the plate and his inability to play the field.
Even if that were not the case, however, it would be hard to imagine him in pinstripes. He is a Boston icon, Big Papi, the Moses of Massachusetts. He was the man who led the Sox back from down three games in the 2004 ALCS, the one who helped them fell the mighty Yankees and end the dreaded Curse that so plagued them.
More directly, though, it comes down to this: Great Red Sox are not supposed to go on to play for the Yankees. The reverse is also true. Same for the Dodgers and Giants (the more so back when the two teams shared New York City) and the Cubs and Cardinals. Treachery is ill-tolerated by the home folks.
Treachery in sports is interesting, because the expectation thereof implies an expectation of fealty to the uniform. That's probably not a delusion anymore; it was probably a delusion even as far back as 1974, when Cubs legend Ron Santo showed it anyway by retiring rather than play a second miserable season for the hated White Sox.
Still, many fans expect it; it's certainly still expected in the clubhouse. Loyalty to teammates is more important to most baseball people than loyalty to the team itself. One way or another, loyalty is expected of everyone who dons a uniform, but there are guys (like Ortiz, perhaps, but certainly like some of his sometime cohorts) who don't buy into it, or who outright rebel against it.
Here are the 10 biggest traitors in the history of MLB.