Bill Simmons on David Ortiz and Boston's Support

Evan Brunell@evanbrunellFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 04:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox runs the bases after his fourth inning RBI double against the New York Yankees on May 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I love Bill Simmons. He's one of my favorite writers on the planet. Unfortunately, he rarely talks about the Red Sox. He's a Celtics/basketball guy who writes football on the side.

So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to an article about David Ortiz. I will now share with you my favorite part:

Red Sox fans refuse to turn against Ortiz. They just can't. They owe him too much for 2004 and 2007. It's like turning on Santa Claus or happy hour.
Every Ortiz appearance is greeted with supportive cheers, every Ortiz failure is greeted with awkward silence. The fans are suffering just like he is.
Only when he left 12 men on base against Anaheim on May 14th did I receive a slew of angry e-mails from back home, but even those tirades centered more around Terry Francona's steadfast refusal to drop Ortiz in the order.
I cannot remember another Boston athlete stinking this long, and this fragrantly, without getting dumped on.

Really, that's a tribute to what he means to his fans and how delightful it was to watch him play.

His career might be over (notice I left the door open; I'm such a sap), but Ortiz has reached the highest level an athlete can reach: unequivocal devotion.

Sox fans love him the same way you love an ailing family member. In the end, at his bleakest point, he's brought out the best of an entire fan base.

He has inspired dignity and emotion and loyalty. The fans could have sped his demise (and saved a few games) by booing until Francona benched him. They didn't.

How often does that happen?