David Ortiz usually doesn’t do anything quietly. Ortiz is the type of slugger who crushes a baseball and stands at the plate to admire his work, and then he usually throws in a bat flip for good measure. Ortiz is boisterous and sometimes cranky, and he almost always has something to say. However, his quest for 500 home runs has gone on with very little fanfare. There are countdown banners at Fenway Park, but other than that, the response has been very muted.
Even Ortiz has been uncharacteristically subdued about the quest. ESPN reported last month Ortiz’s thoughts about his march to the milestone.
“I’m not really trying to accomplish any personal thing. I’m just trying to play the game the way I’m supposed to play it. If I’m swinging the bat good I’m going to try to put a good swing on the pitch every time. That’s how I play the game. But that’s all I can control.”
The Boston Red Sox have had a terrible year in 2015, their third bad season in the last four years. If the Red Sox hadn’t mixed in a World Series title in 2013, Boston fans would be whining and calling their local sports talk radio show blasting everyone from the front office on down to the bat boys. Winning has made Boston fans far less grumpy and, in a way, less passionate. So the games tick off the schedule for the Red Sox and Boston fans are now focused on the New England Patriots.
On Sunday, Ortiz blasted the 497th home run of his career, a bomb to right-center field off of Jerad Eickhoff of the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the 30th home run of the season for Ortiz and the 200th David has hit at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox. He was then replaced in the fifth inning by Allen Craig due to an injured leg.
If Ortiz’s injury isn’t serious, he should reach the 500 mark before the season ends. There was a time when a player reaching such a milestone would eclipse how poorly his team might be playing. Unfortunately, the steroids era made a mockery of home run totals and reaching 500 now receives little more than a courtesy glance.
Then there is the question about whether David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer. It used to be that if you hit 500 home runs you were a shoo-in, but those days have gone. Plus, Ortiz has two other things going against him; he is a designated hitter and he has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
If you had a Hall of fame vote, would you vote for David Ortiz when the time comes?
[Image by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images]