The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin has a feature on David Ortiz and how he’s been dealing with his early season struggles and the criticism that comes with it. The short answer? Not well. Really, if you want to see the dictionary definition of a guy who can’t handle the critics, this is it. Among the highlights:
- “That’s why I came to be, going from being an angel to being [a jerk]. It
wasn’t because of me. It was because people change you.”
- “People take the happiness away from you because they worry about making
some extra dirty money. That’s how I call it. When you criticize a
person like me about my game, you’re just trying to make some dirty
- “So if you’re telling me that just because of the fact that I’m not
hitting at the time, you’ve got to bury me like that?'”
- “Everything kind of switched from one day to another, boom, and then you
see the real faces. Then you see what people are going to be like when
- “when you turn on the TV, living in Boston, all you hear is people just
saying bad things about you like you are a killer, like you just killed
somebody. Like you got no chance in hell to be back. That [stuff] just
crushes, that [stuff] just hits you, that [stuff] just buries.”
- “I know how to fight back,” Ortiz said. “That’s the thing. I’m a nice
guy. I don’t like to see people struggling. I don’t like to be horrible
to people. I don’t like to be mean to people. But on the other hand,
people make you be like that. People is horrible.”
The most interesting bit is where he goes on about ESPN’s Buster Olney, with Ortiz calling him out for saying that he could no longer handle the inside fastball. Ortiz’s beef: he never gets inside fastballs, so Olney is full of it. I don’t have the Pitch f/x-fu to figure out who’s right about that, but I suppose someone is checking that out as we speak.
However that turns out, there’s no question that Ortiz is being overly-sensitive here. He has been among the most beloved players in all of baseball the entire time he’s been in Boston. He got off easier on the PEDs stuff than any player ever has. The criticism he’s gotten — that his production doesn’t match his contract, and that Boston might need to go in a different direction — has been relatively recent and has been no harsher than anything any player in that position has ever received. Indeed, in a lot of ways much easier, inasmuch as it’s almost always tinged with an empathy and a reminder about how much he has meant to the franchise. I mean really, if he thinks that what he’s gotten has been bad as far as the Boston media is concerned, he hasn’t been paying attention to the Boston media very long.
More generally speaking, I think it’s pretty apparent that David Ortiz never learned
the most important thing about celebrity, which is not to believe
everything people say about you when you’re high or when you’re
Big Papi was quite comfy when people had
nothing but nice things to say about him, which has been the case for
almost his entire career. Now that he’s seeing the other side of that, he can’t take it. Which is pretty sad.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.