An Open Letter to David Ortiz
Justin Booth on the BoSox
Where has the time gone? Youíve been with us for eight years now and let me tell you bro, theyíve been the best eight summers of my life.
I wasnít too sure about you when you first arrived. When you got to town, we had Nomar, Pedro and Manny and I didnít think summers at Fenway could get much better.
Then I watched you play baseball.
For as long as Iíve been a baseball fan, New England is the happiest place on earth when the Red Sox are winning. After you showed up in 2003 and started belting homers like the Babe, my personal joy reached euphoric levels. I felt like I went to Disney World and ended up at Woodstock.
I was in the ballpark on July 31, 2006 when you hit a walk-off home run off Fausto Carmona. I can tell my grandkids I saw Superman.
I love you man. The pure joy with which you play the game, the humility you exhibit despite your iconic status and your infectious smile have earned my respect. Itís no surprise why youíve become a role model to so many little leaguers from Bangor to Westerly.
I wouldnít feel any differently about you if you hadnít helped break the curse or bring home two championships. I couldnít dislike you no matter how hard I try.
If this is really it and you never again don #34 for the Boston Red Sox after this weekend, thank you. Youíre the real deal and I appreciate everything youíve given me.
I need you to do something for yourself. I need you to think about how you want to be remembered in the annals of Red Sox history.
Do you really need the Red Sox to give you two guaranteed years for $20-25 million to feel respected and if they donít, will you embark on a self-pity campaign?
What would you tell your children to do if they were in the same situation? I want to believe that youíd explain to them why conducting themselves with honor and dignity is most important and that itís never okay to sell out your reputation.
Before you speak publicly about your contract situation, solicit advice from people whose opinion you respect. Start with Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell and most importantly, Johnny Pesky.
Remember Manny and the way he left town. He cared about his paycheck first. Youíre a far better man than he is.
Lastly, realize that this may be the last chance you get to help determine your legacy. Donít fall into the trap of thinking that all of the good will youíve built up with Red Sox fans over the past eight years could evaporate with one decision. See this for the opportunity that it is.
Why be Superman when you can be a god for all eternity?
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
Justin Booth is a diehard Red Sox fan living in Brookline, MA and uses his above average writing skills to opine about his favorite team. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.