Wednesday, July 13, 2011

FN's Mark Lawrence on Papi

Two More years! Two More Years!
by Mark Lawrence, FN Down Under Editor

Sydney, Australia—July 13, 2011. The Editor must have had an inkling that the latest FenwayNation poll question would elicit from me a resounding “Hell, yes!” and cause the rest of the Nation to fetch up a sigh, shake its collective head and wonder yet again if Lawrence works PR in the employ of Ortiz, Inc.

But let’s think for a moment about what the Nation stands to gain if a two year deal for Big Papi is inked.

A two year contract would mean that Ortiz would see the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park – a place that he loves – as well as winding up his career after ten years with Boston – the team that he loves. And after all that time, I think he deserves that distinctive fillip to his career.

Since joining the Club in 2003, David Ortiz has become pretty much of a mainstay for the Red Sox – of the entire 2004 roster, he is one of only four still with Boston. The others? Tek, Wake and Youk. That’s the kind of company Ortiz is in. And a look at his career numbers proves that he’s earned his place in the Boston Pantheon. They don’t call him Senor Octubre for nothing.

A lively debate will inevitably ensue over whether or not a two-year investment in a player who’s edging 40 is a smart move or not – but I worry that the focus will be on those times early in the season when Ortiz struggled to find his footing. And the fact that he managed to recover – each time - and put up some fairly decent numbers is likely to be forgotten by the Media Pack. They’ll instead wail and moan about Ortiz’s advancing age and make dire predictions that Papi will help the 2012 team like an anvil helps a drowning man. And I’ll bet cash money that articles calling for an Ortiz signing will be harder to find in the Boston broadsheets than good character references for ole Whitey.

The fact is that David Ortiz is a vital part of the Red Sox – the numbers prove that – and the intangibles he brings to the Club cannot be underestimated. Give him the respect he deserves for the work he’s done – and give him the two years.