One month into the season and David Ortiz is hitting .143 which translates to eight hits.. in 56 plate appearances. He's struck out 21 times and has only walked seven. I'm not going to wax sentimental about the good ol' days when Ortiz and Manny were as dangerous as any combo in the league and I'm not going to sit here and type out some long winded speech on why we, as Sox fans, should be patient with him. What I am going to do is be realistic;
David Ortiz is no longer Big Papi. At least not when he steps into the batter's box. He still has that infectious smile, he is still loved throughout the league but at the plate, he is a shadow of his formal self. Don't get me wrong; I have been rooting for him since his early struggles last year. During Spring Training, when people would ask me how I felt about the Sox this year my reply was consistent; "It all depends on Ortiz" I hoped he would start out strong, that I could put my worrying to rest if he came out of the gate hitting around .250 with a few homers and a decent K:BB ratio. One month into the season and my hope has already faded away. Without consistent AB's, there is no way Ortiz can turn this thing around, and with the Sox playing as poorly as they have (granted better as of late) they simply cannot be as patient with him as they were last year. Last night's game was only his fourth start in nine games, he's looked OK at the plate on certain occasions and downright awful on others. He's lashed out at reporters, added expletive's into his nightly media sessions and just doesn't seem to be carrying himself as the big Papi of old.
This situation could turn ugly fast. As much as I love Ortiz, I just can't stand seeing him like this. I can't sit through another AB hoping the pitcher on the mound doesn't throw him a fastball up and in because I know he won't be able to catch up to it. I hate watching him walk away, head-down after another strikeout. But most of all, I hate the thought of him being released by the Sox. To paraphrase a quote from The Dark Knight; "You either retire a hero or you play long enough to see yourself become the villain." David Ortiz has been a hero for us more times than I can remember, I just wish there was a better way for this relationship to end.