Author: David Ortiz with Michael Holley
Title: Papi: My Story
Publication Info: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
I know that David Ortiz is a prodigious slugger, has a big heart, and a potty mouth. From his baseball memoir, I’ve also learned that he holds a grudge. A bit too much of this book is full of Ortiz’s resentments against his manager in Minnesota (and two different managers in Boston), the Red Sox front office, the Boston media, and everyone who suspected him of PED use. Granted he actually is justified in his anger against these people, but it weighs down what is otherwise an insightful book about his life in baseball. I particularly enjoy what Ortiz says about how he became a student of the game and studied pitchers while on the bench so that he could become a better hitter. He talks of learning a lot from fellow players, especially Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez. And then he passes along that knowledge to younger players from Dustin Pedroia to Andrew Benentendi. Outside baseball, Ortiz reflects on his marriage to his wife Tiffany and how he was contending with their marriage falling apart right around the same time as the magical 2013 series. It’s an entertaining book and a must read for fans of Big Papi and the Red Sox, and baseball fans in general.
“I’ve always been amazed at people who criticize baseball players for showing emotion, especially in playoff games. What do they expect when every move you make is with the game on the line? You’re a competitor. You want to be sucessful for your team and your city. You’re not supposed to respond when everyone is losing their minds in the stands, to the point where you really can’t hear anything?
Why not?” – p. 76
“To me, Pedroia is the prototype. I’d never met anyone like him in baseball. It’s hard to explain. For example, I love baseball. Love it. But what I saw from Pedroia made it clear to me that his connection to baseball was beyond everyone else’s. It was so much more than just love for the game. He was the game. Seriously. Everything that was good and true about baseball was in Dustin Pedroia. He breathed it. He lived it. He’d do anything to play it, to be around it, to talk about it.He was such a force of energy, talent, and humor that it lifted our entire clubhouse.” – p. 116
“I believe the Boston media is powerful when it comes to the fans and, in some ways, influential when it comes to the way the team is managed. When the media make a big deal about something, when they create a problem or issue, what are the fans supposed to think? They figure that these people are around the team 24/7, so they must know what they’re talking about. But they don’t.” – p. 151
Recommended books: Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger by Jean Rhodes, Pedro, Carlos, and Omar: The Story of a Season in the Big Apple and the Pursuit of Baseball’s Top Latino Stars by Adam Rubin, and Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season by Stewart O’Nan