It’s so weird to see such a prominent slugger like David Ortiz go from having it to not having it so quickly. It’s one thing for a guy to be a flash in the pan — an All-Star one year and nothing the next. It’s even understandable to see someone have a few peak years and then just drop off after that — it happens. But for a guy who was easily the best clutch hitter in the game for a good five year stretch to just all-of-a-sudden lose it as much as he has is terrifyingly maddening. Big Papi was baller-status, three straight 40+ home run seasons, five straight 100+ RBI seasons, and three years in a row with an OPS over 1.000. Guys who can dominate the game as well as he did, being one of the top-five hitters in the game, don’t just come to a point where they can’t hit anymore the way he has.
I often laughed at critics who asked what was wrong with players if they slumped for three or four weeks to start the season — it’s baseball, a game of averages — things will even out, I always thought. But for David Ortiz, it’s hard to think that he’ll be able to turn it around and go back to being Big Papi. Those days are long gone. The guy’s 33 and looking at his second sub-par year in a row. A month and a half of at-bats is a good sample size. No home runs, especially for a lefty at Fenway Park, is just embarrassing for a guy who once hit 54. Going 0-for-7 against the Angels in a 12-inning game with 12 men left on is easily the low point for him. The Red Sox really have no choice but for him to take the weekend off and hopefully get his head straight. Dodger fans went through this maddening process last year with Andruw Jones, but Andruw wasn’t on top of the baseball world as a hitter to the extent Ortiz was.
Whatever it is that David Ortiz doesn’t have any more has certainly sapped his confidence. He’s no longer the same guy and now that’s killing him mentally. Maybe he can be a decent or good player, but the days of him being Big Papi are over. How did this happen so quickly?