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Posts Tagged ‘Big Papi’’


Yesterday morning, after my early-morning soccer game, I sat down for breakfast, eager to read my Sunday Boston Globe, a ritual of mine since 1986. Like most Sundays before, I was not disappointed. However, one section, which featured essays from notable Bostonians about the Red Sox’s World Series victory, did leave me a bit perplexed.

big-papi

So I tweeted about it:

And also posted my thoughts on my Facebook wall:

“So The Boston Globe ran several opinion pieces about the #RedSox today, about 8 of them, and it was really surprising to not see at least on Latino voice at all, especially since most iconic guy on your team is flipping Big Papi. Ugh.”

(Full disclosure: I occasionally contribute freelance opinion essays to the Globe, and the Globe was my first “real job” ever in 1989.)

A few hours later, I got the following tagged post from my friend, José Massó, a Boston radio legend.

My open letter to the Boston Globe:

It took some time before I read today’s paper…I was out last night celebrating “Steppin’ Out 2013” with Divina, dancing to the music of Manolo Mairena & Curubande and stayed up listening to “¡Con Salsa!”…and with the whole turning back the clock an hour I didn’t get to it until this evening.

I finally read it after noticing a post on Facebook from my friend Julio Ricardo Varela mentioning that eight essays and a poem had been written by New England notables on what the World Series victory by the Red Sox means to them and the region. He noted that none of the essays were written by a Latino voice even though the player that is Boston right now is David Ortiz, the pride and joy of every Dominican and Latino living in Massachusetts and beyond. Ironic, since seven of the eight essays that I read mention Big Papi in addition to the poem’s liberal use of his quote for eternity “this is our f***ing city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom”.

I read Bill Littlefield’s piece first since he is my ‘BUR colleague and we talk about baseball, sports and other matters whenever I’m at the station. At least ‘BUR was smart enough to feature the voice of our friend Héctor Piña the day after the Sox clinched the series commenting on how David Ortiz evokes Dominican pride in Boston. The closest to touching on this was the piece by Gish Jen…but I wondered what would have Junot Díaz written and was he asked to contribute his voice to the “Boston celebration” by the Globe. I’m sure that a Pulitzer Prize winner, professor at MIT and 2012 MacArthur Fellow (also known as a MacArthur genius) would have something to contribute. No need for me to mention that he’s Dominican and if he wasn’t available, as David González suggested on Julio’s Facebook page, a poem by Martín Espada would have been nice…after all he authored “The Trouble Ball” about his father’s experience in 1941 when he went to Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field as an 11 year old for a game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals hoping to see the legendary Satchel Paige pitch, only to learn that Blacks were not allowed to play major league baseball.

I would have enjoyed reading Marcela García’s take on all of this celebration…she’s done an excellent job as an op-ed writer for the Globe and as a guest along with Julio on ‘GBH radio in addition to what she has written for the Boston Business Journal.

Another friend of ours, Alberto Vasallo III, was on the field last Wednesday night and has been covering the Red Sox for several years in addition to his annual celebration of Latino Youth events at Fenway Park. He knows David very well and I would have enjoyed reading an essay by him in the Globe today. Maybe he would have mentioned that Carlos Beltrán won the coveted Roberto Clemente Award this year and that Big Papi won it in 2011. It’s an award that is given annually to a Major League player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.

In closing, I give you the benefit of the doubt but I could go on to name others, and suffice to say…this is our “effing city too” and maybe, just maybe, under the new ownership of the Globe it will be reflected every time we celebrate the positive.

But hey, we’re “Boston Strong”.

With warm regards,

José Massó

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It perplexes people who have known me for ages as well as my new friends who still bleed Yankee pinstripes. To them, I might as well be Benedict Arnold, Neville Chamberlain or the one who got Jesus nailed to a cross. We are talking serious issues here.



So, for all those who have asked me, “How the hell do you root for the Red Sox now?”, I will share my reasons as simply as possible, since I know Yankee fans can be a little bit slow when it comes to logic and reasoning (it’s because they listen to yahoo Yankee announcer John Sterling, the worst broadcaster in history).

But first, a little background: when I moved to the Bronx in 1976 from San Juan, I was already a huge baseball fan. The Pirates were my team…. for obvious reasons. Then my uncle took me to see Tom Seaver at Shea and I was hooked on NY baseball. I lived about 40 blocks from Yankee Stadium, down the Grand Concourse and of course, as a foolish and impressionable little boy, I became a Yankee fan.

It wasn’t hard: Phil Rizzuto, Willie Randolph, Craig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, and yes, of course: REG-GIE., REG-GIE, REG-GIE! I was at the 1977 World Series game where Jackson hit the three homers against the Dodgers to win the title for the Bombers. I met Dimaggio and Mantle. I also watched a game once from Steinbrenner’s luxury suite. Then Don Mattingly came along, and I wanted to bat left-handed.

Fast forward to 1986. Freshman year, Harvard. Mets-Red Sox. I had always thought that Yankee fans were pretty loyal, but when I caught the Bill Buckner game with my roommates and when one of them threw their TV out the window into Harvard Yard after the Sox blew the Series, I was intrigued. Still a Yankee fan, but intrigued.

1988. I entered Fenway Park for the first time. Mind you, having gone to games in Yankee Stadium and at Shea, I had no idea that a heavenly place such as Fenway even existed. 10 beers later (I had a GREAT Fake ID from Alaska!), I was hooked. But I still rooted for the Yankees.

Then Mattingly retired in 1993 (or was it 1994, when the Rangers won the FREAKIN STANLEY CUP). At the same time some Mexican kid with a funny name started playing for the Red Sox. By then, I was paying for about 10 games at Fenway, at a time when you could still walk up to a ticket booth and buy bleacher seats for $10. Nomar Garciaparra was everything I loved in a baseball player: play hard and ask questions later. Soon, NOMAH became my mantra.

Enter a little Dominican pitcher named Pedro Martínez and all of a sudden, Fenway felt like Santo Domingo whenever he pitched. Meanwhile, the Yankees started feeling like Microsoft to me. Too rich. Too good. Too arrogant. Yes, I started fallen for the scorned lover.

2004. The year it became cool to say PAPI in Boston. Sure, Ortiz was on the juice, but for 48 hours in Boston when the Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees (btw, AROD pickup annoyed the crap out of me), life in Boston was never better. People said hi on the train. Strangers held doors open for others. All because of the BIG PAPI.

Seeing my father-in-law shout for joy when the Sox won their first title since 1918 sealed it for me. Add another 2007 title and a ballpark that is about as good as it will ever be, and you have perfection.

Finally, both my kids are huge Sox fans. As a Papi, I know feel I need to steer them right.

So call me the Bronx Judas. I freakin love it. And by the way, Beckett pitches a two-hitter tonight.

Boston, you know I love you madly.

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