Red Sox

McAdam: Legacy of David Ortiz goes far beyond baseball

McAdam: Legacy of David Ortiz goes far beyond baseball

On the last day of the final regular season of David Ortiz's glorious career, the focus, strangely, was not about baseball.

Sure, there was a game still to be played, one of consequence for both teams.

But on Sunday, this wasn't about the slugger and his countless homers and innumerable big hits.

This was about the real legacy of David Ortiz, and the lives he's touched, the people he's impacted, the city over which he's ruled.

This was about David Ortiz, the man.

MORE RED SOX: Friar: Red Sox seem comfortable knowing they don’t have home field advantage | Manfred, MLB offered Red Sox the opportunity to rescind Pomeranz deal

The records, you already know about. And his role in bringing three World Series championships to Fenway.

But even extraordinary players do not attract the dignitaries that flocked to Fenway, including the governor of the commonwealth, the mayor of the city and president of your native country.

Mixed in among the career highlights shown on the center field scoreboard, alongside the walkoff hits and championship celebrations, was footage of the children who received life-saving surgeries as a result of the David Ortiz Foundation, which has focused on providing medical care to the Dominican Republic.

There was no more gripping moment than the sight of a small child sprinting from his seat to wrap Ortiz in a bear hug at mid-field. And no aspect of the ceremony touched Ortiz more than the donation of a $1 million -- $500,000 each from the Red Sox foundation and Red Sox ownership and partners.

Interspersed with the on-field heroics, of course, were highlights of Ortiz's role in helping the city and region recover from the Boston Marathon bombings.

There was the infamous -- and appropriately profane -- message on the field during the first home game following the tragedy, and his return to the finish line, months later, to place the latest World Series trophy in commemoration.

In Saturday's ceremony, Ortiz embraced a host of the bombing's survivors, some of whom had lost limbs. Each seemed to hold Ortiz in awe, more evidence of his impact.

"What he's done off the field,'' noted Boston mayor Marty Walsh, " is almost as big as what he's done on the field. What he's done with his foundation and really lifting this city up after the marathon bombings. Everyone climbed on his back and he just got this city back on track. He's done an awful lot off the field.''

Citing Ortiz's role in 2004, 2007 and 2013, Governor Charlie Baker said "there's a positivity about the team that ends being reflected in the city and how people feel about things.''

The 2013 championship, in particular, Baker noted was "cathartic for the city.''

Which is why the overpass on Brookline Avenue, steps from the ballpark and crossing over the Mass Pike, will now be known as Big Papi Bridge.

"It's a fitting tribute to somebody who's about much more than sports,'' said Baker.

The parade of past and present teammates showed the affection for Ortiz transcends all the runs he's knocked in and all the games he's helped win.

Beyond the numbers, there's the many bits of advice he's given and encouragement he's provided to young players and veterans alike. They weren't embracing the back of his baseball card; they were paying tribute to his humanity.

There's more baseball to be played after Sunday, and thus, more chances to add to his baseball legacy. There could still be a well-timed homer or two this month to further cement his baseball immortality.

But before all of that, Sunday was one more reminder that, for this larger than life figure, his biggest contributions went well beyond the box score.


Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

File Photo

Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”