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David Ortiz: "People is horrible"

May 21, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for David Ortiz strikeout.jpgThe Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin has a feature on David Ortiz and how he’s been dealing with his early season struggles and the criticism that comes with it.  The short answer? Not well.  Really, if you want to see the dictionary definition of a guy who can’t handle the critics, this is it. Among the highlights:

  • “That’s why I came to be, going from being an angel to being [a jerk]. It
    wasn’t because of me. It was because people change you.”
  • “People take the happiness away from you because they worry about making
    some extra dirty money. That’s how I call it. When you criticize a
    person like me about my game, you’re just trying to make some dirty
  • “So if you’re telling me that just because of the fact that I’m not
    hitting at the time, you’ve got to bury me like that?'”
  • “Everything kind of switched from one day to another, boom, and then you
    see the real faces. Then you see what people are going to be like when
    you fail.”
  • “when you turn on the TV, living in Boston, all you hear is people just
    saying bad things about you like you are a killer, like you just killed
    somebody. Like you got no chance in hell to be back. That [stuff] just
    crushes, that [stuff] just hits you, that [stuff] just buries.”
  • “I know how to fight back,” Ortiz said. “That’s the thing. I’m a nice
    guy. I don’t like to see people struggling. I don’t like to be horrible
    to people. I don’t like to be mean to people. But on the other hand,
    people make you be like that. People is horrible.”

The most interesting bit is where he goes on about ESPN’s Buster Olney, with Ortiz calling him out for saying that he could no longer handle the inside fastball.  Ortiz’s beef: he never gets inside fastballs, so Olney is full of it.  I don’t have the Pitch f/x-fu to figure out who’s right about that, but I suppose someone is checking that out as we speak.

However that turns out, there’s no question that Ortiz is being overly-sensitive here. He has been among the most beloved players in all of baseball the entire time he’s been in Boston. He got off easier on the PEDs stuff than any player ever has.  The criticism he’s gotten — that his production doesn’t match his contract, and that Boston might need to go in a different direction — has been relatively recent and has been no harsher than anything any player in that position has ever received. Indeed, in a lot of ways much easier, inasmuch as it’s almost always tinged with an empathy and a reminder about how much he has meant to the franchise.  I mean really, if he thinks that what he’s gotten has been bad as far as the Boston media is concerned, he hasn’t been paying attention to the Boston media very long.

More generally speaking, I think it’s pretty apparent that David Ortiz never learned
the most important thing about celebrity, which is not to believe
everything people say about you when you’re high or when you’re

Big Papi was quite comfy when people had
nothing but nice things to say about him, which has been the case for
almost his entire career. Now that he’s seeing the other side of that, he can’t take it.  Which is pretty sad.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 21, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    According to fangraphs, here’s how he’s hit against the fastball (higher the #, better he does against it)
    2004: 27.0
    2005: 43.5
    2006: 47.3
    2007: 37.8
    2008: 10.6
    2009: 4.5
    2010: 1.7
    So he went from a peak of being almost 50% better than average against the fball, to just average. Not sure if you can extrapolate data based on O/Z swings + this info. Someone get Dave Cameron on the phone.

  2. JCD - May 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Agreed. Ortiz is the definition of a whiner. Other Sox players have been treated much, much worse by the fans and haven’t cried this much about it. Hey David wait until they boo you as soon as you walk onto the field, then you’ll have something to cry about.

  3. mike in MN - May 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    The research is clear, the key to happiness is your ability to let your happiness be driven by your “insides”. They key is your ability to not react negatively to what other people do and say. They key is to understand what makes you happy, and not worry about external influences. David was clearly never taught that as a child (as, it appears, many athletes were not).

  4. Ron - May 21, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Ortiz’s comment was about the “inside” fastball.

  5. Joey B - May 21, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    As a RS fan-
    Papi is about as popular as anyone in Boston has ever been. It’s this popularity that let him slide on the PED charges. And there is nothing unusual about that. People like Pettitte, so he slides. They don’t like Clemens, and like ARod even less, so they get the spotlight. It works like that in real life, and I think players should get better treatment when they’re nice guys.
    Having said that, Papi should realize that he burned through the reservoir of goodwill that he built up. He was my 2nd favorite player after Yaz, but now he is just a regular RS player for me. I doubt that I am the only RS fan who feels the same way.
    Having said that, the press in Boston just writes to create controversey and to be part of that controversey. And some of the fans are idiots. They wonder why Reddick or some other minor leaguer with a 6-game hitting streak isn’t the DH. And their wander-lust is legendary. No matter who is on the team, they’ll want them traded for someone else. Certainly not the majority of the fans, but some of the fans have a single-digit BB IQ.
    Still, Papi won’t help himself complaining to the press.

  6. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    I understand that, but pitch f/x doesn’t have historical data (or at least, none that I can find). So all we do have is what I posted. Hence the extrapolating part.
    However, I think it’s safe to say that due to the general decline of his ability to hit a fastball compared to earlier seasons that it may not matter whether the fastball is inside or not.

  7. JCD - May 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    People do like Pettite, but it also helps that he admitted his guilt. Now he may have done HGH alot more than he admitted, but at least he didn’t take the “I have no idea why I tested positive!” track that Ortiz did. He gets major points for fessing up when he got caught, and I think it actually made people like him more. Ortiz should have learned a lesson from him.
    And the author of this piece was Amelie Benjamin, who is no pot-stirrer ala CHB. If David came across as whiny and bitter in her piece it is because that is what he sounded like.

  8. scatterbrian - May 21, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Wow, he’s really trying to criticize someone for “trying to make some dirty money?”
    Ortiz are hypocritical.

  9. JudyJ - May 21, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    An excellent orator and a dirty steroids user. Wahhhh, Boo-hoo! I will ever forget the night in the visitors dugout a YS – he put two paper cups – one on each ear – to make himself look like Shrek.Now that is a class act.

  10. Ron - May 21, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    That’s why you comment on baseball blogs and post statistics instead of playing yourelf.

  11. Lee - May 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    I thought that people is Soylent Green.

  12. Mark R - May 21, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    And women is losers.

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