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“David Ortiz is not a baseball player”

Jun 27, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

David Ortiz AP

Remember that John Steigerwald guy who blamed Bryan Stow’s beating on the fact that he wore a Giants jersey to Dodger Stadium? Yeah, that was some first class poop-stirring.

This bit he wrote about David Ortiz over the weekend doesn’t approach that state of sublimity, but it’s pretty good poop-stirring all the same.

The inspiration: the fact that Ortiz, by virtue of the Red Sox playing a weekend series in a National League park, had only three plate appearances all weekend. And the fact that, coming into the weekend, Terry Francona complained to a local radio station that he couldn’t use his best lineup because of that:

Francona told 93.7 The Fan that it wasn’t fair he had to keep one of his most dangerous hitters and highest paid players out of the game. He also said his batting order is built around Ortiz.

How pathetic is it that Ortiz is either so fat or uncoordinated that his manager can’t find a place for him to play? … He’s such a clod that he risks injuring himself simply by stepping on the field without a bat? Sorry, if that’s the case, David Ortiz is not a baseball player.

As I said a week or two ago, the old DH wars are, well, old.  That said, I am growing weary of hearing American League managers complain about not being able to use their DH in NL parks during interleague games.

Suck it up and either stop complaining or else put your guy in the field somewhere. Your team has been going to NL parks for several years now. Your boss constructed a roster knowing full well that, for a handful of games, you’d have some lineup challenges.  You don’t hear NL managers complaining that they, unlike their AL opponents, don’t have some offense-only player they can use at DH while on the road during interleague play, do you?

Fair? Not necessarily. But neither is rain on a weekend when you planned a picnic, and no one wants to hear you complaining about that either.

(link via BTF)

  1. Kevin S. - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    You don’t hear NL managers complaining that they, unlike their AL opponents, don’t have some offense-only player they can use at DH while on the road during interleague play, do you?

    Oh hell yes you do. AAAA supporters love to tune out the bitching that comes from their side on this issue.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      What’s the AAAA? I’m only aware of the minor leagues going to AAA.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I am as sick of hearing AL managers whine about the DH as I am hearing Yankees fans whine about all their so-called injuries. Come on Terry…you are better than that. Don’t whine about Big Papi man. Just get through it is all. Wouldn’t you rather have A-Gon for the season than be able to put Ortiz at first in inter-league games?

    • droogleeddie - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      “I am as sick of hearing AL managers whine about the DH as I am hearing Yankees fans whine about all their so-called injuries.”

      C’mon, really… you are injecting arguments from other comment threads into your posts now? Focus on one discussion at a time…

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        Comment Police Alert…next time you want to be a douchenozzle and comment on how someone comments, please leave a list of your rules and regulations regarding who can comment on what, when and where they are allowed to comment, and give a set of rules specifically to the reasoning behind why they are allowed to comment how they are.

        Better yet, when you are thinking of trolling along and writing something as douchy as you just wrote, don’t.

      • droogleeddie - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:52 PM

        OK, here are my rules:

        1. Chris Fiorentino can not comment.

        That is all.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:08 PM

        OK, that was a good retort, although I did walk right into it. Thumbs up troll.

      • CJ - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        rule #2:

        Do. Not. Feed. The. Trolls.

  3. Jack Marshall - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    It’s an unfair criticism, at least of Ortiz. If he were to play first base regularly, he would be far from the worst AL starter at the position. The problem isn’t that Ortiz can’t play in the field, but that the only player on the team hitting better than he is plays the same position, and is defensively adept as well.

    The whining…well, yes, that’s stupid. The DH problem didn’t stop the Red Sox from crushing the NL for the last three years. The problem is highlighted right now because of the injuries to Crawford and Lowrie.

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Any manager that has AGon and Ortiz should not complain about anything to do with their batting line up. Many teams’ entire payroll is smaller than their combined contracts.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Well, Ortiz is making 12.5 million…and A-Gon is at 6.3 million… So, how many teams have a payroll of under 18.8 Million that are not minor league teams? Oh, none. The lowest payroll is Kansas City at 36 million.

      • royhobbs39 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        I believe the comment was ” Many teams’ entire payroll is smaller than their combined contracts.”. Payroll versus contracts.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      If he meant total contract value (166.5 million), and not just this year , then yeah…there are two teams with more (Phillies – which surprised me – and Yankees). But, this year, they only total 18.8 million, and there are no teams with less then that.

  5. cur68 - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Well if he’s not a baseball layer, then what is he? A head of lettuce? Lots of really good NL pitchers and platoon players saw about the same amount of action, too. Are they not ballplayers? When was the last time John Steigerwald stole a base in the Majors? That would be; NEVER. Papi did it last week. He was so good they didn’t even try to throw on him (the collective shock nearly made everyone plotz). Oh he’s a real ballplayer. The real question is: is John Steigerwald a real journalist?

    On the other side of this we have Francona complaining. Hey, Scottie used to complain all the time on Star Trek, too. “Cap’n, me engines cannae do warp 25 3 times a series…” etc. He’s just living up to his billing.

  6. ss - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    All cancelled picnic correspondence should be sent to the Dept. of the Interior, Craig. The best way to get in touch with them is via email – this guy’s always good about getting back to me in a timely manner: y.t.bear@nps.gov.

  7. Jonny 5 - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Awww He’s just trying to make up for writing that bad article against Stowe. How sweet of him. Gotta go, I now have to run over to the printer and get my copy of this to frame right away. I’ve been saying Ortiz isn’t a “real” baseball player for years now….

  8. diamondduq - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    I do have a hard time accepting someone as a legitimate baseball player when he can’t even get on the field! Think what you will about pitchers but you’ve never heard a manager say “It’s not fair I can’t pitch my best pitcher because we’re playing in an NL park and he’d have to hit and run the bases.” Put Gonzalez in the OF, he’s played there before in MLB and head to your local sporting goods store to get Ortiz a first base mitt and go to it!

    • madhatternalice - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      I don’t know. I have a hard time understanding why a DH isn’t considered a “legitimate” baseball player, because he can only hit. But a pitcher who can’t hit isn’t considered the same thing. Justin Verlander has four errors this season, with a fielding percentage of .840, but no one calls him out on that…

      • spudchukar - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:29 PM

        Justin Verlander sucks as a fielder.

  9. holdthemayo123 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    have any direct quotes from francona? i heard him interviewed and he wasnt complaining about it at all.. i think the writer is exaggerating.

    • kopy - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      “I wish we had that three (games at home) in between,” Francona said, referring to the unusual length of this NL trip. “It makes it a little bit more fair for us. I don’t care about the road trip, but it would be nice to have our style where we can play our lineup. Then I wouldn’t be so worried about David if that were the case.” The problem for Francona is that while he wants Ortiz’s bat, he cannot afford to leave Adrian Gonzalez’s bat out. He won’t even consider sitting Gonzalez and his .359/.410/.609 marks out of the lineup even for a day. “Don’t want to do that. Gonzie right now is as good a hitter as anyone in the game and certainly productive.”

      • kopy - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        Francona was saying that what isn’t fair is the long road trip, not the NL rules. He doesn’t mind sitting Ortiz for a NL series or two, it’s the 3 series in a row at Pittsburgh, Philly, and Houston that he doesn’t like because Ortiz will sit so much for so long.

  10. ditto65 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    I would rather hear someone complain about a rained out picnic than listen to Tito complain about having to keep Ortiz on the bench.

  11. ironhorseblues - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    I agree with your article. Having said that, could you not say poop stirring? It makes you sound like a Ned Flanders douchbag. Were all grownups here just say “shit” stirring please….

  12. Jonny 5 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    If you were to cut Ortiz and make the Sox an NL team overnight, they would still have the most potent offense in the NL more than likely. Not to be mistaken with “most potentially offensive”.

  13. canucks18 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Calcaterra you have lost it!!! How do you take Francona’s comments and lead them to say Ortiz isn’t a baseball player? You, like your credibility after this article is a joke!

    • aceshigh11 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      I’m sure Craig is crushed by your assessment.

      I think the real joke is your lack of reading comprehension skills. Try rereading the post again, VERY SLOWLY.

    • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:34 PM

      Can’t be bothered to read, I see….because if you had, you would realize the reason Craig used quotes for that text. Your credibility, like the reputation of Vancouver, is up in flames.

  14. thefalcon123 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Ortiz is hitting .311/.391/.581. He is poor defensively, hence he’s the DH. But with that hitting line, virtually any team would put his lackluster glove at first because he’s good hitting would far outweigh his poor defense. The Red Sox don’t do it for an obvious reason…they have Adrian Gonzalez at 1st who is hitting .361/.415/.611 and plays good defensive first base (and would probably play very, very poor outfield).

    To imply Ortiz wouldn’t be in baseball without the DH is to prove you’re an idiot.

  15. aceshigh11 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Ortiz COULD play first just fine.

    The main issue is that the Sox’ best two hitters play the same position. One needs to sit. That’s all there is to it.

    There was some talk of Gonzalez maybe playing right field and Ortiz playing first, but that was probably deemed too risky.

    Saying that Francona was complaining is a stretch…he shouldn’t have used the word “fair” though…nothing is fair in life. Ever.

    And more to the point: how does this Steigerwald d-bag STILL have a job after what he wrote about Stow?

  16. kellyb9 - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    He’s a baseball player like a guy going to a driving range is a golfer.

  17. ceadderman - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Oh boo hoo Francona. Cry me a river. Try Managing in a real league where Pitchers have to take their cuts like everybody else. I absolutely HATE the DH absolutely.

    The AL is the ONLY league where the Pitcher doesn’t take his cuts on a regular day. The only time they hit is when they Pitch Interleague Matchups in a National League Park. In Little League? Pitchers hit. Babe Ruth? yup. High School? yeahup, there too. College? Uh huh. In the AL? Nope.

    I wouldn’t say that Ortiz isn’t a Baseball Player though. It’s just what happens when you get greedy looking for Power at the same Position.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      You might want to double-check your facts. High schools have the DH. Colleges definitely have the DH. The National League and Japan’s Central League are the only two professional baseball leagues lacking the DH.

      • simon94022 - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        Notably, Japan’s Pacific League introduced the DH for the same reason that the American League did. In both countries, it was a financially struggling league plagued by chronically weak attendance that needed desperately to shake things up. The American League of the early 1970s was in a very bad way, partly because so many clubs had become financially codependent on the Yankees during their long era of dominance, and they weren’t equipped for a world in which the Yankees were a mediocre team and a poor draw.

        Japan’s Central League, like the National League in the US, has traditionally Been financially more secure and thus opposed the DH as a cheap gimmick.

        The Central League continues to be the home of the most financially successful Japanese baseball teams. And NL teams continue on average to have stronger attendance than the AL. 8 of the lowest 10 attendance teams in MLB are American League teams, so whatever the merits of the DH, it does not appear to have solved the problem it was designed for.

  18. aaronmoreno - Jun 27, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    I’ll ask this again: Did the Red Sox plan for what might happen in the World Series?

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