David Ortiz is ridiculous.
This year, he may end up with more doubles than he’s hit in any of the previous 19 seasons of his career.
I know that among the baseball analytics people, batting average no longer counts for much, but it still counts for me, and the last time I looked, David Ortiz was hitting about .320.
And home runs? He’s had one of his seven best years in that regard, and he’s broken the quirky record for most home runs hit by somebody in his final season.
"He’s also already knocked in more runs than he has in any season since 2006, which is 10 years ago, at which point he was 30. Meaning, indisputably, that now he is 40.”
He’s also already knocked in more runs than he has in any season since 2006, which is 10 years ago, at which point he was 30. Meaning, indisputably, that now he is 40.
Here are two conflicting theories about being a designated hitter, which is what David Ortiz is. One: it’s a terrific advantage, because you expend no energy playing a position, and you can stay warm in the clubhouse. Two: it’s tough to concentrate if you’re only called upon to do something every three innings, and if you strike out three times, you can’t make up for it by saving the game with a great catch.
I don’t know if David Ortiz thinks about advantages and disadvantages. I do know that he thinks about Ted Williams, at least sometimes. Last month he told a writer that he had doubts about whether Ted Williams hit the 502-foot home run he is said to have hit in Fenway Park … the home run commemorated by a single red seat in the green bleachers there.
So I know that David Ortiz is comfortable enough in Boston to call into question a mammoth, perhaps mythical home run hit by one of the city’s most significant figures.
But he is uncomfortable in the feet. That’s the other thing I know about David Ortiz. His feet hurt. They’ve hurt for a long time, and they hurt a lot, and he cannot run much. At all. This means he does not get the infield hits lots of .300 hitters get, which makes his batting average especially unlikely.
But sore feet. They are the primary reason he’s given for retiring at the end of this season, though his numbers are as good or better than the numbers he’s been generating over the past two decades, and he is riding so high in terms of public esteem in his adopted home that he can call into question the second-most famous home run Ted Williams hit — the most famous being the one he clubbed in his final at-bat – and incur precisely no wrath at all.
David Ortiz will probably hit a home run in his final at-bat, too. David Ortiz is ridiculous.