The graciousness of David Ortiz and Jason Bay in defeat earned them a special place in Dick Vitale’s heart.
The ESPN college basketball analyst and Tampa Bay Rays super fan revealed to MLB.com’s Matt Monagan this week how the former Boston Red Sox players starred in his second-favorite Rays memory.
Vitale and his grandkids were celebrating Tampa’s win over Boston in Game 7 of the 2008 American League Championship Series when Ortiz and Bay spotted them near the visitors’ dugout at Tropicana Field. Instead of brooding into the clubhouse after their loss, Ortiz and Bay decided to gift Vitale and Co. something to make the occasion even sweeter.
“I’m two feet away from the players and I had my grandkids with me. They were five years old,” Vitale said. “Ortiz and Bay are all watching the Rays celebrate and then Papi turns to me, hands me two bats and says, ‘Hey Dickie V, give these to the kids. I have no use for these anymore.’ And Bay did the same thing!”
It’s easy to understand why Vitale cherishes that memory and those keepsakes.
Vitale only ranks the Rays reaching the 2020 World Series higher than his brush with Ortiz and Bay.
Tampa currently is tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-1 in this year’s Fall Classic. Game 3 will take place Friday night.