David Ortiz Throws Ceremonial Pitch in First Appearance Since Shooting

Ortiz had three surgeries before being released from Massachusetts General Hospital at the end of July

David Ortiz addresses the crowd before the game between the Red Sox and Yankees. (Maddie Meyer/Getty)
David Ortiz addresses the crowd before the game between the Red Sox and Yankees. (Maddie Meyer/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / September 10, 2019 10:11 am

In his first public appearance since being shot in the Dominican Republic on June 9, beloved Red Sox slugger David Ortiz threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park prior to Monday night’s series finale against the Yankees. That was the lone highlight of the night for the home team, as the Red Sox went on to lose the game 5-0 as well as drop the season series to New York 13-5.

Ortiz tossed his pitch to former teammate and ex-Red Sox captain Jason Varitek and they embraced afterward.

After throwing the pitch to Varitek, Ortiz, who had three surgeries before being released from Massachusetts General Hospital at the end of July, addressed the crowd

“First of all, I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be able to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family, they have always been there for me, supported [me]. With what happened to me, they were the first supporting me. Thank you very much, Red Sox family. I want to thank all of you for all the prayers, all of them came home. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much. I want to thank my former teammates for being there for me. And also, all of them came home to check on their boy. Also, I want to thank the Yankees, a lot of my boys over there came over to check on Big Papi. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you very much. God bless you all. Go Sox.”

It was a great moment, but also one a cynic might call a calculated one. After all, Ortiz’s appearance came less than 24 hours after the Red Sox cut ties with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski following a loss to the division-leading New York Yankees. Instead of holding a press conference to announce the firing of the veteran executive (who did put together a roster which won the World Series last season), the team let the news leak out on Sunday night just after the Patriots had raised their championship banner on Sunday Night Football and then issued a brief statement on Monday.

The Red Sox, who made three straight playoff appearances under Dombrowski but are all but out of the race this season, certainly seem as if they are trying to bury the news about the firing in the news cycle.

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