Big Papi Has Another Rough June

The month of June is a time when ex Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz needs to just stay in the house. In June of 2019 Ortiz was shot in the back while chilling in a bar in his hometown of DR.

The cause of the shooting is still a mystery, more soap opera-ish than a sad situation. Ortiz recovered and was fine. It looks worse than it turned out to be thank goodness.

Rumors were flying as to why the former Red Sox slugger was shot in his homeland. Some said it was a robbery gone bad, others said it was because he had been messing with a voluptuous Dominican model linked to a drug dealer.

The attorney general of the Dominican Republic said it was a case of mistaken identity.

According to Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez, the target was actually Ortiz’s friend, Sixto David Fernandez, who allegedly turned his drug-dealing cousin, Victor Hugo Gomez, into Dominican drug investigators eight years ago.

Eventually, folks stopped digging for the truth and chalked it up to one of those things.

Fast forward to June 2020 and a pandemic later and Big Papi is back in the news and not for hitting a home run against the Yankees or building “Big Papi Stadium” in DR as he’s expressed a desire to do.

Restraining Order: Intimidation & Threats

This time, Dominican Republic newspaper Listín Diario reports that a restraining order has been issued against David Ortiz. The request for the order was filed by Ortiz’s former partner, Fary Almanzar Fernandez, who is also the mother of Ortiz’s son.

Fernandez alleged stated in the restraining order application that she’s been “intimidated and threatened” by Ortiz. Court documents claim that the restraining order was issued on May 21.

Per the terms of the order, Ortiz is to abstain from “annoying, intimidating or threatening” Fernandez, whether it be in person or via telephone.

Ortiz is like Mr. Untouchable. Dating back to his days on the Red Sox. He was the Yankees killer, prominent in helping Boston erase an 86-year World Series drought, winning three titles in total during his mythical 14-year career.

As FS1’s Rob Parker mentioned in a 2016 Shadow League article during All-star Weekend, nobody even remembers or cares that Papi was linked to the Mitchell Report. Back in 2009, there was a report that Ortiz failed the drug testing survey in 2003. Granted, the survey was supposed to be anonymous. More than 100 others failed and their names weren’t leaked. But Ortiz and teammate Manny Ramirez were named. That, of course, wasn’t fair, but the cat was out of the bag.

Who can forget that Friday night as the Boston Red Sox retired the future Hall of Famers number during a half-hour pregame ceremony at Fenway Park?

The players lined the top of the dugout in reverence. Ortiz stepped to the mic like Rakim spitting his final 16, wiped the tears from his eyes and paused for a second as the sold-out crowd shouted “Papi!”

And this is Boston we are talking about; a city that continues to earn its reputation as a bastion of bigotry in pro sports. Former MLB star Torii Hunter said he’d never play in Boston because he’s been called the N-word too many times.

The Adam Jones incident in which the Orioles centerfielder — a guy who had just led the USA to its first World Baseball Classic title — had peanuts and racial epithets hurled his way by Red Sox fans, is still fresh in the mind of African-Americans everywhere

Any player of color will tell you a story or two about their experiences in Boston. They all sound pretty similar.

Mr. Untouchable

Ortiz’s story is the complete opposite. He’s just the third man of color to have his number retired by Boston. He wears his Dominican Heritage proudly, but he is colorless in the eyes of Red Sox fans.

His exploits on the baseball field and his ability to be counted on to represent the Red Sox regularly on and off the field in times of crisis, elevated Ortiz to a level of reverence that supersedes anyone’s racial prejudices.

His memorable speech following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing forever solidified his place as a Boston hero and a legend free from criticism.

As I stated after Big Papi’s final Red Sox playoff game in 2016 during Hispanic Heritage Month:

“No player has captivated a town and the hearts of fans on an athletic, social and political level like the Dominican Don. His bat struck loudly as he came to Boston as an undeveloped hitter struggling to grasp Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kellys disciplined hitting approach…

His legend grew as a player.. His words off the field struck thunderously when draped in a backdrop of the American flag as he spoke out against terrorism…”

He kissed the babies, mentored younger players, showed leadership in tough situations and worked tediously to get better each year.  He acknowledges legends of color, pioneers of the game. That’s why he chose Kirby Puckett’s No. 34 when he left Minnesota to achieve his destiny in Boston like Ertugrul, setting the path for the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Hey, bad things happen to good people, we all know this to be true. But when telling the story of Big Papi there’s a lot of details that are left out. Papi is not perfect and he’s still a rockstar in Boston, but he needs to spend more time in the United States and be careful because little warts add up to big ones.

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