Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz lost another fan within the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting rotation.
Ortiz launched a three-run homer Sunday in the Red Sox’s 3-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. The nine-time All-Star capped his blast with an emphatic bat flip and a slow trot around the bases, which drew the ire of Rays starter Chris Archer, who said he now understands why teammate David Price said back in May that Ortiz acts as if he’s “bigger than the game.”
“I think it was a perfect example of what Price said,” Archer told reporters in St. Petersburg after Sunday’s game. “All my interactions with (Ortiz) outside of (baseball) — off the field — have been good. But when it comes to him on the field, I don’t know what makes him think that he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate, nobody look at him a funny way or nobody pitch him inside.
“I don’t know why he feels like that. But obviously, he feels the way David (Price) said he does. He feels like he’s bigger than the game. He feels like this show is all about him, which in reality, if I don’t walk Daniel Nava or if I don’t give up an infield single to (Dustin) Pedroia, his one home run means nothing. I hope that he realizes that there’s more that goes into it than just him. And, I don’t know, I feel like you can’t say that your true character is defined by one action, but multiple actions speak to who you are.”
The rivalry between Ortiz and Price is well-documented. Ortiz homered off Price twice during last year’s ALDS, and the Rays ace responded by plunking Big Papi earlier this season. The incident, which added fuel to a contentious rivalry between the American League East rivals, led to a war of words. It’s clear there’s some lingering animosity, though Rays manager Joe Maddon did his best to throw water on the fire.
“He played it up pretty good,” Maddon said after Sunday’s game of Ortiz’s home run off Archer. “Again, you’d have to talk to him about that. I’ve had so much respect for that guy over the years. And he’s an iconic figure in that city, and I’ve always thought of him (to be) a very classy person, I always have. … The man has done so much for the game here and also back in his country. There’s those moments that occur like that. It causes pause and makes you think a little bit, because I have so much respect for him.”
Ortiz’s response to Archer’s hate?
“Players today are too sensitive,” Ortiz said. “I’ll leave it at that.”