Yawkey Way Extension is now officially David Ortiz Drive.

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Ortiz had played well against the Angels during the regular season, hitting .300 with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs in eight games.

David Ortiz’s number was added to the pantheon of Boston Red Sox greats on Friday. And from start to finish, it was a memorable night at Fenway Park.

Ortiz’s 34 was mowed into the grass at Fenway Park for the occasion, and the number now hangs between Wade Boggs’ and Jackie Robinson’s numbers above the field. He also threw out the first pitch ahead of Boston’s game vs. the Los Angeles Angels … and reminded everyone why he was a designated hitter and not a pitcher. 

“Now that I’m not playing, I don’t want to be a distraction, and I know that coming to the field sometimes, it can cause a distraction or something. So, I have been able to keep my distance so I’m not in nobody’s way.”

To be clear, Ortiz wasn’t asked to stay away. If anything, manager John Farrell said he held out hope the franchise icon might show up one day, ask for his No. 34 jersey and unretire. Red Sox players, if they’re being honest, feel the same way.

But Ortiz always has had an acute awareness of the situation. He knew to expect a first-pitch changeup from Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit in that 2013 playoff game. He knew what the nervous fans needed to cheap baseball  jerseys hear before that first game back in Fenway after the Marathon attack and shelter-in-place. He knew how to prop up Pujols, one of only 16 players in history with more home runs than Ortiz.

And Ortiz knew the Red Sox, still a predominantly young team with second baseman as its primary leader, needed to find their identity without his presence prompting questions about whether he might come back. If any of those young players has a question, they have Ortiz’s phone number. But by staying away, he actually did them a favor.

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Yawkey Way Extension is now officially David Ortiz Drive.

The City of Boston renamed the street near Fenway Park in honor of the Red Sox legend on Thursday, the first in a series of events leading up to the retirement of his No. 34 before Friday night’s game against the Angels at Fenway.

If David Ortiz returns to Boston but not as a player, does it count as a comeback?

As if the upcoming Red Sox-Yankees series needed any more hype, Ortiz hinted Monday at the possibility of him returning to the Red Sox organization in some role, and his revelation has at least one legacy member of Red Sox Nation pretty excited.
Ortiz and the Red Sox are in discussions regarding the former slugger’s future role with the team, Ortiz said at a charity event in Manhattan. That prompted Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to speculate what that exactly could mean going forward.

But the celebration started on Thursday. First, in the afternoon, the city of Boston renamed Yawkey Way Extension David Ortiz Drive. And then Thursday evening brought a night of laughs at the expense of the retired slugger. Make that howling laughs at The Roast of David Ortiz, which took place at a nightclub on Lansdowne Street, not far from many of the towering home runs Big Papi smacked during his legendary career.

Red sox #34 David Ortiz Red New Cool Base Stitched MLB Jersey

For 67 years, Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx held the Red Sox record for the most home runs in a single season, with 50. But by midseason in 2006, it was becoming clear that David Ortiz had a legitimate opportunity to break the longstanding mark.
Big Papi had 37 homers by the end of July. Fittingly, Ortiz broke the franchise record on Sept. 21, 2006, against the Minnesota Twins — the team that had released him more than three years earlier.

Next in the leadup to Friday’s number retirement ceremony: a roast of Big Papi on Thursday night at Boston’s House of Blues, featuring Bill Burr, longtime Red Sox teammate Dustin Pedroia, Sarah Tianna and Lenny Clarke. The roast will benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.

Hours before the Red Sox were set to retire David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday night at Fenway Park, Angels manager Mike Scioscia sat in the visitors’ dugout reminiscing about the first time he saw Ortiz play.

“I saw him back in 1999 in the Pacific Coast League when I was managing in Albuquerque and he was in Salt Lake City while with the Twins,” Scioscia said. “You knew then that he had potential, but he’s put it together almost like a fairy tale. The clutch hits, the championships, that’s something that he had a major part of.”

On Oct. 8, 2004, after the Red Sox won the first two games of the best-of-five American League Division Series, Ortiz strode to the plate in Game 3 in the bottom of the 10th inning with the score tied at 6 and Johnny Damon on first base after drawing a walk.

 

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has turned in over the past few days<< >>David Ortiz will serve as a mentor of current players.

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