David Ortiz certainly left his mark on the field during the Red Sox’ World Series run, walking away with MVP honors after batting at a .688 clip throughout six games, but it was what he did in the dugout that may have turned things around for the Red Sox.
During Game 4, Big Papi was shown gathering his teammates and delivering a powerful message to “24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher,” as Jonny Gomes described the moment. In the final episode of FOX Sports 1’s “Mission October” series, Ortiz revealed that his veteran status guided him to rally his troops. Mic’d up for the iconic speech, Ortiz told the guys who were hanging on his every word that they just needed to get back to basics, relax and play their game.
“The guys got the message,” Ortiz said.
That may be perhaps the understatement of the year, but following the pep talk, Boston showed just how loud and clear the slugger’s message was received. You know the story by heart now, with the score tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs, Ortiz walked on four-straight balls and then the man who wasn’t even supposed to be in the lineup drilled a three-run blast over the left-field fence.
With a teammate in the dugout saying, “he should pull a homer right here,” Gomes did just that, becoming the hero under unlikely circumstances, endearing himself even more so to the city he epitomizes.
“It was just about timely hitting,” Gomes said. “That was my time right there.”
After storming around the bases, Gomes was greeted by the longest-tenured member of the Sox, showing Ortiz’s inspirational words were just as timely as Gomes’ swing.
“Jonny’s one of those guys that you knock on his door and he’s good to go,” Ortiz said about his teammate. “Always. Without him, I don’t think we’d be where we’re at.”
Check out the rest of the segment looking back at the series-changing moment in the video below.