FORT MYERS, Fla. — There was a temporary cease-fire at JetBlue Park Tuesday morning. A gentle rain fell over the Red Sox spring training complex, and everybody took a break from the goofy disclosures and see-no-evil management responses of the first few days of camp. (This was moments before chairman Tom Werner said everything was just swell with Pablo Sandoval and then completely contradicted himself when he went on WEEI.) It was the day before the first official workout for the full squad, and the only news was the opening farewell speech of David Ortiz.Dated Beatles reference? Check:
Big Papi, who already is in the conversation as perhaps the second-greatest Red Sox player of all time (sorry, young people, Ted Williams will always be No. 1), carried the day as he engaged in a thoughtful and thoroughly noncontroversial 34-minute press conference with the hungry wolves who’ve been delivering provocative dispatches and photos from amp.
Ortiz is 40. He has pledged to retire at the end of this season. It will be a Yaz-like, Jeter-like tour de force. It might be something akin to the Beatles’ last show at Candlestick Park in 1966.Dated baseball movie reference? Check:
Papi went all James Earl Jones on us Tuesday. He reminded us of everything that’s great about Boston baseball. And how everything could be great again.Overwrought praise? Checkmate:
Bingo. That’s it right there. Red Sox owners should take the preceding paragraphs and stencil them onto the left field wall at Fenway Park. Speaking in his second language, in a tone none of us have been able to summon, Ortiz put words to the love affair between himself and Boston. It was Churchillian.Well, there is that possibility that Shank heard a live Churchill speech in his formative years. Still a little over the top!
Cheap predictions - the next column will be about Clay Buchholz, and it won't be as positive as this one.