Sunday, May 10, 2009

Big Popout

Today I wore my David Ortiz jersey for the first time in months.  There was no particular reason, well other than the fact I haven't done laundry in a few days and it was one of the only clean pieces of clothing I had, but still no special reason.  I put it on and went outside to meet up with my buddy so we could see the new Star Trek movie (actually not bad) and then it happened.

He sees the jersey and asks if there is anyone on the back or if it's just a blank.  With a big prideful smile I turn around to show him the #34 and the Ortiz.  However instead of getting the usual response "nice" I heard "oh wow that's embarrassing."  He actually made fun of my David Ortiz jersey.

I then spent the rest of the ride to the movie theatre explaining how Ortiz is a Red Sox hero and although he may be struggling now every time he is up at bat all I remember is the 2004 playoffs and all the clutch hits and big home runs.  He would have none of it and chose to dog out Ortiz for his weak average (.220) and his lack of home runs (0 so far this season).

I defended Big Papi as best I could but in the end there wasn't really much to say as these days he isn't known as Big Papi but is instead referred to as Big Popout.  Sadly the new nickname is more fitting as Ortiz has lost all of his power and is now just an overweight 33 year old who can't hit a baseball.

To understand how bad it really is look no further than last nights action.  Ortiz took his 100th at bat and still didn't have a home run.  Meanwhile in his first at bat of the season Alex Rodriuguez hit a dinger.  So A-rod did in one at bat what Ortiz hasn't been able to do in 100+ at bats.

The list of players that have more home runs than David Ortiz contains some of the worst hitters of the past decades and even contains a few pitchers from the NL.  Ortiz has gone from serious home run threat to the laughing stock of the league and as a Red Sox fan it is truly hard to watch.

Ortiz's power numbers have been dropping since the 2006 season.  Over the past four seasons he has hit 54, 35, 23, and 0 (that's the 2009 season).  Many tried to attribute the lack of power to a wrist injury that Ortiz suffered last year and has been struggling with but coming into the season he said he was 100%.

The most troubling part of Ortiz's season so far as that he is still batting 3rd in the lineup.  His numbers are pathetic and yet he continues to bat in his same slot.  But what can you do?  He has earned that spot by time and time coming through when the Red Sox needed a hit.  Over the past 3 seasons there wasn't one other guy you would want up there when your team needed a hit and I am not just talking about the Red Sox.  He was considered to be the best clutch hitter in the game league wide.

But he is hurting the team with his lack of production and it is only a matter of time before he gets moved down in the order.  By the end of the season we could see Big Papi hitting 8th or 9th after such scrubs as Jed Lowrie and Julio Lugo.

I remember when I went to the store in Boston across the street from Fenway and my dad told me to pick any jersey I wanted.  I didn't even think.  I went right for Ortiz and knew that this would be a jersey I could always wear with pride.  Hell I almost got in a fight with some poof at the Jays game because he was making fun of my jersey a few years ago.  If that happened today I don't think there is anything I could say in return.  "Oh yeah well he was good 5 years ago" just isn't an effective argument.

For now the faith in me remains strong that he will be able to turn it around but having to watch guys like Jeff Niemann and Dana Eveland blow it by him it doesn't look good.

Random Youtube Video

1 comment:

Draper004 said...

My Chipper Jones Jersey > Your David Ortiz Jersey