Big Papi Legend Coming to a Close in the Worst Possible Way

Andy LindbergContributor IMay 15, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox walks in the dugout after grounding out for the final out with the bases loaded in the 12th inning against  the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 14, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Angels won 5-4 in 12 innings.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

“Sorry, guys, I don’t feel like talking right now,” Ortiz said. “Just put down ‘Papi stinks.’”

This was the quote from David Ortiz after the Red Sox’ brutal 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, the team with the most unnecessary name in baseball.

I can’t stand to see Ortiz like this. Ortiz, the man whose smile stretches from ear to ear in the photos. Ortiz, the man who broke the Red Sox’ single season home run record with 54 in 2006. Ortiz, the Yankee-killer. His aura is fading faster than the ghost of Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams.

I called for patience with Papi early in the season. But I have never, ever, seen an 0-7 showing in the box score out of our three-hitter. What made it worse were the 12 men Ortiz left on base.

I still want patience with Papi. After all, this is the man who brought the 2004 championship to Boston with his phenomenal play in the 2004 ALCS. But he cannot bat third in the Boston lineup right now.

When Kevin Youkilis gets off the DL next week, Boston needs to plug in Bay/Youkilis at the third and fourth spots in the lineup. Ortiz needs to be moved to seventh. Until then, put Dustin Pedroia in the three-hole

It it incomprehensible to me and many true Red Sox fans. Dropping Papi to seventh?  The fact of the matter is that now Ortiz is not batting in the most crucial of runs when we need them over the course of a game.

Ortiz is mentally beaten. There has never been a moment in his career where he has batted as poorly as he is now and he has no clue of how to come out of it. Plug him into the seven-spot for some low-pressure at-bats. If that doesn’t work, Boston has another option.

Put Papi on the DL with one of those very wordy ailments that mean in so many words, “really bad slump.” Then call up Michael Bowden or Clay Buchholz to help out the Red Sox’ league-worst starting pitching staff.

It’s sad, but it’s what needs to happen. The Red Sox have great depth and what makes it so great is the fact that this depth produces. Right now, Ortiz is not and cannot seem to produce. Give Papi a few games low in the lineup, then sit or DL him.

It makes me nauseous to say that and to even think it. But for the sake of his state of mind and the runs the Red Sox are not scoring, it has to be done.

Watching a legend drift away is sad. Watching one fail completely is even worse.


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