Jason Varitek offered another reminder of just how much David Ortiz means to the Red Sox, the city of Boston and people all around the world.
The former Red Sox captain fought back tears Monday while speaking with reporters at Fenway Park one day after Ortiz was shot in the back in the Dominican Republic. The two played nine seasons together in Boston (2003-11), winning a pair of World Series titles (2004, 2007), and developed a strong bond that was evident as Varitek voiced support for Ortiz and his family amid the longtime Red Sox slugger’s recovery.
“He’s Big Papi. He’s a big man,” Varitek said. “And great human being. Not only being a great player but played the game right.”
“He’s a dad,” the ex-Boston catcher added. “Heart goes out to (his daughter) Alex and (his son) D’Angelo and his wife, and the rest of his family. It’s a very scary thing that something like that could happen that easily.”
Varitek, now a catching instructor and special assistant to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, wasn’t the only one to get choked up while talking about Ortiz. Pedro Martinez also fought back tears on MLB Network while showing love for his former Red Sox teammate.
These types of reactions speak to Ortiz’s lasting impact, which extends far beyond the baseball diamond. Ortiz long has been a pillar in both Boston and the Dominican Republic, and those close to the three-time World Series champion were hit hard by the news of him being shot Sunday night.
“I didn’t sleep very well last night,” Varitek said Monday. “I don’t think anybody did that knew. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on. Still don’t know that much besides what everybody’s seen and heard.”
Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, released a statement Tuesday morning indicating her husband underwent a successful second surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and is “stable, awake, and resting comfortably” in the ICU, where he is expected to remain for the next several days.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images