Boston Red Sox fan favorite David Ortiz came to the defense of Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday in the wake of the New York Yankees slugger being drilled by Ryan Dempster. Like many others, Big Papi felt that it was wrong of Dempster to intentionally target A-Rod because of his 211-game suspension and alleged PED use.
“I didn’t like it. I don’t think it was the right thing to do,” Ortiz told USA TODAY Sports. “But we don’t all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy. It’s not that I didn’t think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone’s on their own.”
Ortiz said the biggest problem he had with Dempster’s stunt is that it put a man on base and energized an opponent in a game that the Red Sox would have loved to win.
“We’ve got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees’ team at that moment,” he continued. “You saw how the game ended up. CC (Sabathia) was throwing 91 (mph) and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there. You’re talking about a good team that you can’t wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.”
That is certainly a valid point. The Red Sox are currently a game ahead of the Rays in the AL East standings, and they dropped a game on Sunday night after losing to New York thanks in part to an angry A-Rod homer. But Big Papi probably should have stopped there.
When the discussion turned to Rodriguez’s suspension, Ortiz said he felt the amount of money A-Rod has remaining on his contract factored into the severity of the punishment. He also cautioned against the precedent such a ban sets.
“And thinking in general terms, what’s good for me, what’s good for other players, what’s good for your kids if they decide to become ballplayers, you can’t let any team break a contract, because then the next time a player gets a DUI, or is charged with domestic violence or with any other thing, then the team may try to get out of a contract,” Ortiz said. “They would have (precedent).”
The last thing the players want is drunk drivers and wife beaters not getting paid, so the MLBPA had better work hard to fight for those rights. It should also be noted that Ortiz and A-Rod left Fenway Park together in Big Papi’s SUV the night all the drama unfolded, so the two are obviously close friends. Although, I’m sure you could have guessed that by his comments.Google+