June 1st, 2003. That day should forever be engraved in the memory of one the most passionate and loyal fan bases that have ever existed. That Sunday, Grady Little, the Boston Red Sox’s manager at the time, decide to make a tweak in the starting lineup. That was the day David Americo Ortiz became Boston’s full-time Designated Hitter. Fast forward to October 9th, 2016 and “Big Papi’s” last game as a Red Sox and as a professional baseball player. Bill Simmons, the Boston Sports Guy, once referred to Ortiz in the same breath as Bill Russell in terms of his grandeur and what he meant to the city. The difference between Russell and Ortiz is that for the latter, the city meant everything to him and he showed it every chance he could. After an amazing 14-year career in Boston which left 4 World Series and an impressive amount of clutch homers and hits, David Ortiz decided it was time to ride into the sunset. He will truly be missed on the diamond. So what’s next for Boston’s biggest and most charismatic athlete since Larry Legend? Let’s see.
1 . Hitting coach
This seems to be the obvious choice, but Ortiz has the credentials to become a hitting coach. Watching one of Ortiz’s at-bats was like watching Beethoven composing, da Vinci sketching, and Picasso painting. You knew deep inside you that an artist was at work and what was about to happen could be his next great masterpiece. According to Baseball Reference, David Ortiz played nearly 2000 games over 14 years in Boston and he tallied the following stats:
- 2079 hits (more than half were either doubles, triples, or homers by the way).
- 483 homeruns
- 1530 runs batted in
- 1133 walks
- .290 batting average
I think it’s fair to say the man could he. And the dude knows baseball, he respects the game and honored it every time he suited up. He is possibly one of the most respected players to ever play the game. Having him as a hitting coach would definitely help out any team immediately. And not just in hitting. The respect he commanded out of the clubhouse is a course in how to build relationships and chemistry with fellow teammates, something that in any sport is just as crucial as physical abilities.
2. In-studio commentator
Shaquille O’Neal, the Big Aristoteles, took his charisma and sense of humor to the studios once he hung up the kicks. During his playing games, Shaq was well known to give interesting sound bites (some funny, others insightful). And it was all thanks to his magnetic personality. David Ortiz is practically the same in these terms. He has always made reporters laugh and given great interviews. Rarely would you see Ortiz not have a good time when he was being questioned by reporters. Just like Shaq’s, his personality is fit for television. Jason Hanold recently posted about how a career in sports journalism is one of the best ways for athletes to face retirement. The fact Ortiz speaks two languages makes him a valuable asset for any network. He must have a vault of stories and anecdotes to share with viewing audiences. We need to get him on TV as soon as possible.
3. Goodwill embassador and anthropologist
Big Papi became a part of Boston, not just a part of its rich history of sports, but also a part of the city. His David Ortiz Children’s Fund has done a number of good deeds to help the youth of New England and his home country, the Dominican Republic. He loves helping people, it’s just who he is. This is a man who can do a lot of good in the world. With the extra time he has on his hands, he can help those who need it most and advocate for some of the causes that he believes in. Bringing joy to others is one of Big Papi’s most remarkable qualities, one that seems to come naturally to him. He can now dedicate more time to his own charitable efforts as well as collaborate with others to make sure those who need help receive it.
David Ortiz is one those people that once you come across them, you will never forget them. What he did for baseball in the city of Boston can only be eclipsed with what he achieved for the city in general. He will no longer dress up in number 34 for the Red Sox but he can still make great contributions to the sport. Whether it be in a studio, mentoring up-and-coming prospects, or helping to make the world a better place, you can be sure David Ortiz will find something to keep himself busy after baseball. His personality and love of life are just too big to keep him calm for long.