World Series MVP David Ortiz Powers Boston Red Sox To Another Title

Sports Illustrated’s MLB Insider Tom Verducci on David Ortiz’s Epic World Series MVP Performance for Boston Red Sox:

BOSTON — It was after two o’clock in the morning when David Ortiz bounced out of the Red Sox clubhouse for the first time as a three-time world champion. He was surrounded by a phalanx of friends and fans that grew with nearly every step as he walked underneath Fenway Park. Ortiz does not walk alone, no more than does a rock star or a five-star general, and he exhibits qualities of both at all times.

A trio of admiring police officers brought the entourage to a brief stop. One of them, Chief Jeffrey Silva of the Westwood, Mass., Police Department, pulled out his cell phone to take a picture. His eight-year-old son had one question for him when he left for work that day to assist the Boston P.D. in keeping the peace for what would be one of the biggest nights in the city’s sports history, Game 6 of the World Series, the first opportunity for the Red Sox to win the series at home since 1918. “Dad,” his son asked, “can you get me Big Papi’s autograph?”

“I’ll be working outside the ballpark,” Silva had replied. “I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening.”

Instead, he found himself standing next to the newly-minted World Series MVP, not to mention Boston’s unofficial team captain, spokesman, grief counselor, chaplain, grillmaster and cheerleader. Silva practically turned into an eight-year-old himself shaking hands and congratulating Ortiz.

“He represents everything Boston is about,” said Chief Silva. “Hard-working people who look out for one another. The way he handled everything from the bombing to the whole season tells you how much he cares. The epitome of leadership is when people look to you in time of trouble and you want to be the one to provide the help. That’s what people see in David: a true leader.”

If there is one singular flavor to take away from this World Series it is that for the first time in 95 years the Red Sox and their fans celebrated a championship in Fenway Park. “The cathedral of baseball,” Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes called it.

The cathedral fairly rattled and shook Wednesday night from as much joyful noise as 38,477 people can muster. So jazzed were the Fenway faithful that they stood for much of the game. So festive was the crowd that it was Times Square on New Year’s Eve, except this time the question for the revelers was whether, not when, the ball would drop. It did so at 11:20 p.m. ET on the night before Halloween.

In the past 10 years we have seen the Red Sox end an 86-year championship drought, the White Sox end an 88-year drought and the Giants end a 56-year drought. But so important is Fenway and baseball to the life of Boston that the end of the Red Sox’ 95-year drought falls just behind — though still in the company of — the other Bucket List benchmarks of the last decade.

Fenway aside, what will resonate the most from this Fall Classic is the statement Ortiz made with his play. It came just six months after the more prideful, if vulgar, one that he made when Fenway opened its arms to fans for the first time since the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15. “This is our f—ing city!” he shouted to the world as much to as his fellow Bostonians on April 20.

That comment echoed literally after the World Series clincher. “This is our bleeping city,” Ortiz said with a smile upon being presented with a trophy and a truck as the series’ MVP. But the personal statement Ortiz made is that he is the force that moves this team in every imaginable way. The man hit .688 and reached base 19 times in 25 plate appearances. You simply do not put up those kinds of numbers in the major leagues. Not in the World Series. Not against the collection of power arms that the Cardinals kept running out to the mound. Heck, you don’t put up numbers like that in Little League or slow-pitch softball.

This will go down as the World Series of Ortiz. The Fall Classic was a celebration of resilience, the resilience of both the Red Sox, who own the all-time worst winning percentage (.426 in 2011) of any team that went on to win the World Series the next year, and the resilience of Bostonians, who lived up to the “B Strong” motto after the bombings last April. Ortiz is the embodiment of that spirit. People want to follow this natural born leader, and Ortiz wants people to follow him.

“I’ve played with a lot of superstars,” Red Sox catcher David Ross said, “but I’ve never been around a superstar who cared more about winning than David. He could go 0-for-4, but if we win the game, he’s the happiest man in the room.”

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Posted on October 31, 2013, in Major League Baseball and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on World Series MVP David Ortiz Powers Boston Red Sox To Another Title.

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