By Evan Bleier / June 12, 2019

David Ortiz Relied on Fans for Protection in Dominican Republic

Ortiz usually traveled in the Dominican Republic "with little or no security"

Dominican Baseball player David Ortiz in Punta Cana. (Santiago Vidal/LatinContent/Getty)
Dominican Baseball player David Ortiz in Punta Cana. (Santiago Vidal/LatinContent/Getty)

Three-time World Series winner David Ortiz thought his “Big Papi” persona was all the protection he needed while traveling the streets of his hometown, Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.

As Sunday night’s apparent murder attempt makes clear, the former Red Sox slugger was wrong.

According to The Associated PressOrtiz usually traveled in the Dominican Republic “with little or no security” while mixing it up socially with TV personalities, Dominican reggaeton musicians and sometimes unsavory characters.

“He may have spoken with them, but he didn’t know who they were,” a friend of Ortiz’s told The AP, speaking anonymously. “He really kept away from that world.”

Apparently, the distance the 43-year-old slugger kept was not quite enough as he now lies in intensive care.

“He felt protected by the people,” the friend said. “He is one of the most loved people in the Dominican Republic. He felt no fear despite the fact that there’s street crime here. Even the guys in the dangerous neighborhoods respected him.”

The murder rate in the country stands at 12.5 killings per 100,000 people, making the Dominican Republic one the most violent countries in the world, according to the U.S. State Department.

As for the criminal case surrounding the shooting, police have made a second arrest but are still looking to apprehend the gunman who shot Ortiz in the back at point-blank range of Sunday night.

Ortiz is still recovering in Boston following a second surgery.

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