Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Time for Ortiz to take a seat

Posted by Bill Koch on April 14, 2010

David Ortiz

Somebody needs to save David Ortiz from himself, and we at Ramble On know for certain that it won’t be This Manager who steps in and does the job.

It was sadly fitting that Ortiz struggled again on Wednesday in Minnesota, adding to his league-leading strikeout total in Boston’s 6-3 win over the Twins. This wasn’t some power pitcher that baffled Ortiz this time – he looked overmatched against soft-tossing righty Kevin Slowey.

Most of the so-called fans in Pink Hat Nation didn’t even know that the Red Sox existed when Jim Rice went through this same thing at the end of his career, but take my word for it – this is how power hitters look when they reach the end of the line. They don’t slowly fade away, watch their averages decline by a few points and still scratch out some base hits. They suddenly hit the wall and stop being productive players, and all that’s left are the memories of home runs past.

To borrow from Rick Pitino, whose very name should make Boston fans cringe, Ortiz circa 2004 isn’t walking through that door. We’re a knee injury, a wrist injury and an untold amount of performance-enhancing drugs away from the guy who was on the bench while Jeremy Giambi and Shea Hillenbrand struggled with the Red Sox at the start of Theo Epstein’s tenure. Ortiz only got his shot when Hillenbrand was traded to the Diamondbacks and Giambi was let go after failing to crack the .200 mark, and to his credit he made the most of it.

That version of Ortiz doesn’t exist anymore, and the fact that he actually reached 28 home runs and 99 RBIs last season is actually working against him. This Manager allowed Dustin Pedroia to hit .182 through May of his rookie season before the little guy turned things around to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. There’s no such revival coming for Ortiz, but This Manager’s track record as a first-round pick who ultimately proved to be a bust during his playing career is in the back of his mind as well. Somewhere deep in his subconscious is the memory of a talented player who feels like he wasn’t given enough of a chance to live up to what was considered to be endless potential, and he’s carried that into his career on the bench. It’s up to Epstein to step in and put Ortiz out of his misery before we have to suffer through any more of it with him.

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One Response to “Time for Ortiz to take a seat”

  1. Steve G. said

    As much as I just preached patience for Buchholz on your other entry, well, the track record for fat first baseman isn’t that great. They tend to go off the cliff quickly and immediately (Mo Vaughn, Cecil Fielder, Boog Powell) as opposed to a slow and gradual decline like more athletic players.

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