Or­tiz's hopes for sto­ry­book fin­ish fall short

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Kyle Hightower AP Sports Writer

David Or­tiz's ca­reer ended with the Red Sox's sweep by the In­di­ans in the Amer­i­can League

Di­vi­sional Se­ries. After the fi­nal out, the crowd chanted “We’re not leav­ing!” and “Thank you, Papi!” for more than 10 min­utes.

BOS­TON >> David Or­tiz didn’t want it to end.

With his team trail­ing the Cleve­land In­di­ans by two runs in Game 3 of the AL Di­vi­sion Se­ries, Bos­ton’s big­gest star trot­ted to first base after an eighthin­ning walk Mon­day night and turned to­ward the Red Sox fans who had cheered him through so many mem­o­rable mo­ments for 14 sea­sons.

Rais­ing his hands high above his head , he tried to clap the Fen­way Park crowd into a frenzy one more time. It wasn’t to be. After pro­vid­ing so many huge hits for the fran­chise, win­ning three World Se­ries championships and be­com­ing a beloved fig­ure in Bos­ton, it was time for Big Papi’s story to end.

That four-pitch walk turned out to be the fi­nal plate ap­pear­ance of his sto­ried, 20-year ma­jor league ca­reer. He was soon re­placed by a pinch run­ner and left to a stand­ing ovation. But he could only watch from the dugout in a red pullover when Travis Shaw hit a game-end­ing fly­out an in­ning later as the Red Sox were swept out of the play­offs with a 4-3 loss.

After the fi­nal out, the crowd of 39,530 — the largest at Fen­way since at least World War II — chanted “We’re not leav­ing!” and “Thank you, Papi!” for more than 10 min­utes, draw­ing Or­tiz back onto the field.

The 40-year-old slug­ger strolled out to the mound to cheers and tipped his cap in all di­rec­tions, tap­ping his heart and even­tu­ally wip­ing tears from his eyes as a year’s worth of emo­tions flowed through him.

“I went through like three dif­fer­ent times where emo­tions popped. But they’re dif­fer­ent,” Or­tiz said.

His ini­tial thoughts were about the loss of his friend and Mi­ami Mar­lins star Jose Fer­nan­dez, killed in a boat­ing ac­ci­dent last month. It wasn’t un­til later that Or­tiz thought about his own ca­reer .

“Tonight when I walked to the mound, I re­al­ized that it was over,” he said. “Even if things didn’t end up the way we were look­ing for, I believe that in base­ball, es­pe­cially in the base­ball game that we play in to­day’s day, it’s a big step be­cause it’s like go­ing from bad to good, from day to night.”

After a ca­reer that in­cluded a 2013 World Se­ries MVP award and 10 All-Star ap­pear­ances, Or­tiz had two chances Mon­day to de­liver an­other one of the clutch post­sea­son hits he’s be­come so well known for.

In the sixth in­ning against re­liever An­drew Miller, the des­ig­nated hit­ter came to the plate with one out and run­ners on sec­ond and third, but could only muster a sac­ri­fice fly to cen­ter field that scored Dustin Pe­droia and pulled Bos­ton to 4-2.

That was still the score in the eighth when Or­tiz came up with two outs and Mookie Betts on first base.

Or­tiz walked on four straight pitches be­fore im­plor­ing the crowd to its feet.

He fin­ished his fi­nal game 0 for 1 with two walks and an RBI. But he was just 1 for 9 in the se­ries.

“Ob­vi­ously, I’m not happy that mo­ment shows up,” Or­tiz said. “I was cheer­ing so bad. Once I got out of the game, I was scream­ing at my team to put me back in it. Make me wear this uni­form one more day. Be­cause I wasn’t ready to be over with the play­offs.”

Re­minders of Or­tiz’s 14 sea­sons in Bos­ton greeted him from the mo­ment he ar­rived at the ball­park.

The first piece of nos­tal­gia came in a “Thank You! 34” ban­ner that hung over the play­ers’ park­ing lot through­out the sea­son. It fea­tures a car­i­ca­ture of him with both hands point­ing to the sky as he gazes up­ward.


Bos­ton Red Sox des­ig­nated hit­ter David Or­tiz re­acts after walk­ing to first in his fi­nal at bat dur­ing Mon­day night’s Di­vi­sion Se­ries game in Bos­ton.

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