June 24, 2024


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Former Red Sox assistant shares David Ortiz story

David Ortiz

He put the phone on the couch, launched one over the fence, returned to the clubhouse, and said, “Where were we?”

David Ortiz watches a ball sail over the fence. Charles Krupa/AP File Photo

Every Red Sox fan has a favorite David Ortiz home run story – where they were, what they were thinking, how it made them feel.

One particular memory, from former Red Sox assistant Brian Bannister, perfectly encapsulates Ortiz’s unique blend of nonchalance and swagger.

Bannister congratulated Ortiz on his election to the Hall of Fame and then shared his personal favorite – a story that will surprise no one given Ortiz’s style.

1/ David played his final MLB season in 2016 at age 40. Even after 20 years in the big leagues he still worked relentlessly at both his hitting and physical conditioning.

2/ His schedule that year was extremely busy. Farewell gifts. Speeches. Interviews. Nonstop media.

3/ Often the quietest time of his day was during the games. Being an American League DH is a lonely (existence). 30-45 minutes between at-bats is typical. No time in the field.

4/ Some players really struggle with controlling their thoughts and anxiety during this downtime. Not David. During his final season, he used that rare downtime to call back friends.

5/ For context, I was added to the Red Sox Major League coaching staff for the first time at the All-Star Break in 2016.

6/ During games that year, I would sit on a couch in the clubhouse and monitor video + pitch data on my laptop for any signs of trouble with the pitchers. David would often sit on a couch nearby.

7/ I had always loved his infectious laugh and admired his incredible personal style. His ESPN commercial is one of my personal favorites.

8/ This one day in particular, he was sitting on the couch opposite me talking on the phone as usual. Mid-conversation he remarked “Hold on a sec. I have to go hit.”

9/ However, this time he did something unusual. He didn’t hang up the phone. He just put it down on the couch.

10/ I watched him walk down the stairs to the dugout and then appear on TV in the on-deck circle just moments later. Within a few minutes he was in the batter’s box. Spits on his gloves. Claps his hands.

11/ Meanwhile, I’m still sitting on the couch on my laptop. His phone is still on the couch across from me. The call is still active.

12/ I look up at the TV. He goes deep! Unbelievable! He starts trotting around the bases. He crosses home. Points up at the sky. High-fiving teammates.

13/ Moments later, he walks up the stairs into the clubhouse and sits down on the couch opposite me. He picks up his phone again and says “Hey I’m back – where were we?” The phone call had never ended. Absolute legend.

Here’s the thread on Twitter.

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