David Ortiz remains part of the Boston Red Sox organization despite hanging up his cleats at the end of the 2016 Major League Baseball season.
But what exactly is the former Red Sox designated hitter doing in his new role as a special assistant?
That’s the question WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford recently asked Ortiz during the ex-slugger’s celebrity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. And one thing is abundantly clear: Ortiz is willing to do whatever the club needs, even if his job responsibilities are far from specific.
“I’m there. The organization, they approach me with things,” Ortiz told Bradford. “I do what I have to do behind the scenes. I talk to all my boys. Whenever I see something, I share ideas. But I don’t want to be in the way. I’m always open to doing whatever the organization wants me to, but I just like to do it behind the scenes.”
As Bradford notes, Ortiz’s role is a bit different from the roles assumed by Red Sox legends Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek on the heels of their respective retirements. For one, Ortiz isn’t around quite as much, largely because he doesn’t want to get in the way. After all, Ortiz played alongside many of the players on the Red Sox’s roster, and it took a while for them to overcome Big Papi’s departure.
“I’m always on the phone talking to my boys,” Ortiz told Bradford. “When I go into the clubhouse, we share ideas. When I come to spring training, I share ideas. We have a coaching staff who works on the field that I respect. But like I always say, four eyes can see more than two. I know how to approach guys without being disrespectful because I know there are coaches out there who are able to help. As a player, sometimes you have to have the confidence to be able to work with coaches.
“Sometimes, when certain players get in trouble, they call me because we played together and they know I know how to fix things. I just won’t do it in public. Or if I do it in public, it’s combined with the coaches. Not just me. I’m not here to get credit for anything. My days to get credit was when I played baseball. The getting credit thing is not my thing. I help whenever I can and do whatever I need to do. Not for me, but for the organization because this organization I will do whatever I need to do to make it better.”
In other words, Ortiz, who spent 20 seasons in the majors (14 with Boston), is available for whoever, whenever and about whatever. It’s up to the Red Sox to make the most of his presence, and they seemingly have done that considering Boston’s 2018 World Series triumph.
Thumbnail photo via Maddie Meyer/Pool USA TODAY Sports Images