COMMENTARY | David Ortiz made his long awaited, much anticipated 2013 debut this past weekend. With his bat, he helped the Boston Red Sox continue to be the class act of the American League East. Ortiz also did his part off the field, while Boston continues to heal from the marathon terrorist attacks of last week.
The "face" of the Red Sox, Ortiz had been out since last Aug. 24 due to an Achilles injury. Boston took a bit of a gamble this offseason, signing the 37 year-old to a two year, $26 million deal. Ortiz had been slow to get going in the spring, and would eventually find his way to Triple-A Pawtucket for a rehab assignment. There Ortiz hit .222, with one home run and four runs batted-in over six games.
Ortiz was supposed to make his debut Friday night. However, due to the massive manhunt going on for one of the bombing suspects in the Boston area, the Red Sox decided to postpone the game. It was not just disappointing that Ortiz would have to stall his debut, but thousands were ready for the Red Sox' first home game since the tragedy.
Ortiz would get his chance the following day. While everyone anticipated his first plate-appearance, Big Papi's first hit came before the game even began. Ortiz took the microphone during the emotional pregame festivities, and gave Boston a quote that no fan will soon forget.
"This is our f------ city." Ortiz said. "And nobody's going to dictate our freedom."
While the phrasing was a bit raw, the ovation was immense. And with that, the Red Sox took to the field to try and help their fans forget about the past week of uncertainty and sadness.
Ortiz didn't miss a beat. Papi would go 2 for 4 in the game, driving in his first run of the season. Daniel Nava would end up being the hero with a game-changing homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Ortiz would be the story. Red Sox fans as well as folks from practically all walks of life were talking about Papi's big swing and big mouth.
The upset of the day came later on when the FCC decided to make an informal ruling regarding Ortiz' comments. Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC decided to cut Ortiz and the Red Sox some slack.
"David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston…" Genachowski would tweet, and there didn't seem to be any controversy from that.
Ortiz started game one of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. Even though Boston lost, Ortiz kept the hot bat going. He would go 3 for 4 with a double and another RBI. Ortiz got the second game off. And while the Red Sox lost both games to the Kansas City Royals, the outcomes seemed secondary to the true focus of the weekend which was simply getting back to normal.
The heart and soul of the Red Sox lineup is back, and it's more important that just what he does on the field. Ortiz has been one of the faces of this franchise for a decade. Controversial at times, difficult at others, Ortiz is no doubt a legend from this era of Red Sox baseball. And at 37 years old, he is someone who still seems to have plenty in the tank to help this franchise get back to its winning tradition.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox.You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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