We should have seen this coming, this perfect storm of Big Papi farewell overexposure.
In the past 30 days we’ve already had “David Ortiz 500 necklace night,” he got a street named after him in Florida, his daughter sang the National Anthem, he threw out the first pitch (how often do active players throw out a first pitch?) and he received several standing ovations in Montreal – that hotbed of Ortiz history.
Mark your calendars, folks, because there’s more fun to come! On Tuesday, May 24 at Fenway, it’ll be “David Ortiz Canvas Print Night!” (NO. JOKE.) The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive an exclusive canvas print of Ortiz, “commemorating his remarkable and historic Red Sox career.” On Tuesday, June 21 it’ll be “Papi Gnome Night!” (NO. JOKE.) The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a “Big Papi Gnome!” On Tuesday, July 26 it’ll be “Build-A-Papi Night!” (NO. JOKE.) It’s just like build a bear, only it’s that big, soft Teddy Bear, Papi! Get it!?
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And then, on Sunday, Oct. 2 comes the grand finale. Papi’s final home game. He will descend into Fenway from the top of the Pru on a zipline, where he will be met in the infield by Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Pedro, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Michael Jordan, President Obama, Vladimir Putin and the family of the late Nelson de la Rosa. The Fenway organ will play “To God Be the Glory.”
None of this stuff should surprise us, of course. The Yankees started this obnoxious, season-long farewell trend with Rivera and then Jeter. The Lakers just wrapped up their six month long slurp-fest with Kobe Bryant.
Surprise, surprise – none of those teams were even close to winning championships in those seasons that were overshadowed by the retiree.
It’s ridiculously early, but the Red Sox look like they’re headed toward another failure of a season and it’s entirely possible that Ortiz will be the only draw in the dog days of summer and early fall. So this stuff will become even more insufferable, if that’s possible.
Then there’s the fact that the Red Sox simply live for this stuff and feel the need to try and “out-do” every other team in sports when it comes to pre-game and in-game ceremonies. While Ortiz might not even crack the top 10 list of best Red Sox players ever, he will be hailed as the “G.O.A.T.” for the rest of this season.
You truly have to feel bad for the Fenway public address guy who has to read these 10 minute speeches on the beauty of the game and the beauty of the Ortiz. He’s forced to make rainy Monday games in April sound Shakespearean.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this afternoon, prior to the start of the ballgame against the Colorado Rockies, our beloved Big Papi took what could be his final piss in the urinal adjacent to Gate D. We thank Papi for his contributions to that particular urinal over all these glorious years. No one takes a pee like you, Papi.”