The Boston Red Sox have decided to cancel a David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway scheduled for tonight’s home game against the New York Yankees.
Management reportedly decided that the Big Pappi bobblehead was racially insensitive.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Sox explained that the bobbleheads “were unacceptable to the club and not appropriate for distribution.” The bobbleheads are back to the drawing board, and new, revised ones will be made available to everyone with a ticket to tonight’s matchup, the club added.
The bobblehead in question attempted to depict David Ortiz giving his famous speech after the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing in April 2013.
Upon inspecting the bobblehead for the first time today, team president Sam Kennedy had this reaction, according to the Boston Globe.
“It was an inaccurate portrayal of David. It doesn’t really look like David. No. 2, I personally thought it seemed to be an offensive portrayal of him and that the facial features were racially insensitive. If I was feeling this way, certainly other people would. So we pulled the plug.”
Some 15,000 bobbleheads are being returned to the manufacturer, which is reportedly Washington state-based BDA Inc., a every experienced MLB vendor. The company released a statement saying, “We value our decades-long relationship with the Red Sox organization and its decision to postpone Tuesday’s David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway. We’re currently working closely with the Red Sox to ensure the team and its fans receive a quality product,” ABC Boston affiliate WCVB detailed.
“A Red Sox team spokesman said that the bobblehead did not represent an accurate portrayal of Ortiz’ likeness and that some of the features were racially insensitive. The spokesman also noted that these issues did not exist on all the bobbleheads, but that the team decided it was best to hold back all of them,” Boston sports radio WEEI reported about the cancellation.
As the entire sports world is aware, David Ortiz is retiring at the end of the 2016 campaign after 14 seasons with the Red Sox (and 20 years overall in MLB) and is being honored at visiting ballparks. Tonight’s cancelled bobblehead giveaway would also have been the fifth promotional event at Fenway Park in Boston.
Ortiz is having a stellar season. Going into tonight’s action against the Yankees, Ortiz — possibly the first designated hitter who might be inducted into the Hall of Fame — is batting.309, with an OBP of.397 and an OPS of 1.014. He has 25 home runs so far.
As a team, the Red Sox have been scuffling and have now dropped into third place in the American League East, where they find themselves fighting for the second Wild Card spot. Going into tonight’s action, the Red Sox are 60-50 and 34-25 at home. They have just come off a disappointing and frustrating 5-6 West Coast road trip where they gave away a number of winnable games. Of late, the Red Sox have let many games slip through their fingers, even with their generally potent offense, because of inconsistent pitching (including but not limited to ace David Price) and an inability to cash in with men on base at key moments.
The beginning of tonight’s three-game series with the Yankees is also notable in that third baseman Alex Rodriguez is supposedly retiring/being released this week. A-Rod is scheduled to play on Wednesday and Thursday night at Fenway. His last game as an active player for the Yankees is Friday, April 12, a home game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rosters expand to 40 players on September 1, but evidently New York wanted to cut ties with A-Rod immediately to bring up another player in his place.
Many New York City sportswriters have thrown shade on the idea that A-Rod, who has spent most of the season on the bench, will finish out his huge guaranteed contract as a Yankee advisor next season as stated in the Sunday face-saving press conference. Rodriguez is just four homers short of 700 and 19 home runs short of breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time record, suggesting that he would try to hook up as a DH for another team in 2017. The writers also maintain that he played ball, as it were, with the Yankees management plan for his Friday exit because he wants to be an owner one day.
“This is just another victimless con job in the world of sports,” wrote Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News.
Given his production this season, many Sox fans are hoping that David Ortiz will also change his mind and unretire, but the Sox superstar has consistently insisted that this is it.
[Photo by Charles Krupa/AP Images]