My older, nearly 2-year-old daughter is just putting together sentences and learning the important concepts of life: she knows the words "baseball" and "Redsox," and when I ask her who our favorite baseball player is, she more often than not replies: "Big Papi!"
I was thinking about this because obviously David Ortiz hasn't really had the kind of seasons since 2007 that you'd expect out of a "favorite player." By the time Jocelyn is old enough to really root for the Red Sox, he won't be on the team. Maybe Dustin Pedroia or Jon Lester or Casey Kelly or someone who isn't even in the organization will be her favorite. Favorite players overwhelmingly tend to be likable enough guys who are really good at playing baseball (my own favorite players went in order: Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz). Sometimes they're role players who succeed at a key moment or quietly do their jobs well if unspectacularly, but success on some level almost always plays a role. Success and Big Papi have not been synonymous for some time.
So it's good to be reminded of things like this:
A Missouri resident, [Jeremy] took his family to the [Royals] game [Sunday, during which Ortiz went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts] and found himself in the hallway outside the clubhouse afterward.
His daughter Jordan, who turns 3 in July, counts David as her favorite player and named her rocking horse after him. I'll let Jeremy tell the rest of the story …
"Several players made their way to the elevator without even a hello. Then emerged Ortiz, and instinctively my little girl says "Big Papi"! After a rough game and I am sure tough questioning, he stopped, turned around, and came over to my little girl. He spoke, signed a ball for her and left with at least one moment of a smile on his face.
"Despite the weight of the 'Red Sox Nation' on his shoulders, he found a way to touch the life of a young fan that he will never know the importance of. … In our eyes, he is a person to look up to and can only hope he finds the happiness he once had smacking the ball around the yard."