BRIGHTON, Mass. – A group of Bruins players traveled to Fenway Park over the weekend to be part of farewell festivities for retiring, future Hall of Fame Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, and it was a quite experience for all of them.
Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Matt Beleskey, Tuukka Rask, John-Michael Liles and David Krejci were among the veteran Bruins who stayed behind Saturday while most of the rest of the team traveled to Philadelphia for a preseason game.
The current Bruins were led onto the Fenway field by B’s Hall of Fame defensemen Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque in the pregame festivities. That just added to the special feeling of being involved in the big goodbye to Big Papi. All three of the other pro sports teams in Boston were well-represented. Krug, even though he’s a big Detroit Tigers fan from Michigan, said he was honored to be a part of the weekend-long ceremony.
“Being part of it was one of the cooler things that I’ve been a part of since moving to Boston,” said Krug, who was kicking himself for not getting a picture of himself with Orr and Bourque while it was all going on. “He’s just such an icon for Boston sports, and to be on the field to shake his hand was special. Just to be a part of it was exciting, and hopefully he can capture another World Series here.
“It’s a different lifestyle and a different sport and we have full focus on what we do as athletes, but [I appreciate his career] just being a sports fan. It’s not just what he does on the field either. The charities he’s involved in, the foundation and the heart surgeries that he’s paid for. He’s a pretty special human, to be honest, and somebody we could all learn from.”
McQuaid isn’t the biggest baseball fan having grown up pretty far away from the professional side of the sport on Prince Edward Island, but he’s grown to understand how important the Red Sox are to Boston over the course of his seven seasons in Boston.
“Everyone that was there felt honored to be a part of it,” said McQuaid. “You’re surrounded by all of the legends. Anytime you get to go to Fenway it’s pretty special, but this was really a special honor. There’s also always that shock and awe factor when you see [Orr], but he’s so personable and down-to-earth that he’s usually the one to come up, talk to you and break the ice. He’s such a great role model for hockey players
“I don’t follow [baseball] closely, but you know how much people in Boston follow him and the team. Anytime they’ve had success, he’s been such a big part of it. It’ll be kind of hard to picture the Red Sox without him because he’s all I’ve ever known.”
It remains to be seen what Ortiz does this time in the postseason that he has dominated in the past, but there’s no question the other Boston sports teams did themselves proud paying homage to Big Papi one last time last weekend.