BOSTON — There’s a good chance the Red Sox’s 2017 roster looks pretty similar to the one that finished 2016.
Well, except for the absence of one very large man.
Life without David Ortiz officially has begun in Boston, as the 40-year-old designated hitter’s career came to an end Monday night at Fenway Park. Ortiz leaves behind a massive legacy stemming from his exploits both on and off the field.
Big Papi’s presence certainly will be missed throughout the Red Sox’s clubhouse and front office. So, during their postmortem press conferences Tuesday at Fenway Park, manager John Farrell and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski both offered anecdotes about the beloved Dominican slugger.
Farrell was asked to pick out his favorite moment involving Ortiz, and he chose a good one: Big Papi’s spur-of-the-moment dugout speech to his teammates during Game 4 of the 2013 World Series.
“You don’t really ever see a player take a team and call an impromptu meeting in the dugout,” Farrell said. “You don’t see that. I don’t know that anybody in here has ever seen a player do that elsewhere. And to see how things took place after that? That was a pretty special moment.”
Dombrowski recalled a humorous back-and-forth he had with Ortiz in Baltimore following a late September win over the Orioles.
“He called me over and said ‘Jefe!’ — he always calls me ‘Jefe’ — ‘You owe me!’ ” Dombrowski said. “And I said, ‘Why do I owe you?’ He said, ‘I told you I’d get 30 (homers) and 100 (RBIs)!’
“And we sort of laughed. Then, the next day, I got back to him and said, ‘You know I thought about that. You owe me.’ He said, ‘What do you mean? Why?’ And I said, ‘You told me you were going to get 40 and 130!’ ”
We’re sure plenty more great Ortiz stories will emerge in the coming days — the Hanley Ramirez cheesecake saga is one of our favorites — and they’ll all serve as reminders of just how much Big Papi will be missed.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images