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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

David Ortiz gets the deal he wanted, but did he damage his reputation in the process?

Big+Papi+earned+a+big+windfall+last+month%2C+but+is+he+the+player+he+once+was%3F
Big Papi earned a big windfall last month, but is he the player he once was?

If the events of the past two months between the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz have shown us anything, it’s that you can stomp your feet and whine to the media and the powers that be will give you whatever you want.
Ortiz recently received a one-year $16 million contract extension from the Red Sox with a vesting option for 2016 and a club option for 2017. The vesting option automatically kicks in if Ortiz reaches a certain number of at-bats in the 2015 season. The extension comes with Ortiz currently signed on for 2014 to the tune of $15 million.
“It is difficult to describe David’s contributions to our city both on the field and off the field, and we are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown,” said Red Sox owner John Henry.
“We want him to be a guy who essentially came in with us even though it was 2003, our second year, and stayed with us for the rest of his career,” CEO Larry Lucchino added. “I think it’s a great thing.” 
I want to start by saying I am a fan of both David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox. The impact that Ortiz has had on both the team and the city of Boston is immeasurable. He has been an integral part of the three World Series titles since 2004. He, along with the rest of the Red Sox, played a key role in the healing process for the city following the tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Still, the route he took to get the extension is something that has left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans.
Ortiz spent much of the off season talking to the media about the possibility of a contract extension, given his level of play during the 2013 postseason. He did post a .688 batting average in the World Series. Ortiz made statements in the off season claiming to be one of the best to ever don a Red Sox uniform and that he wanted to add years on his contract to be able to retire as a member of the team.
At the same time, Ortiz lamented that a guy his age should be a complementary player in the system. “We should have a couple of studs in their 20s doing more than what I do,” Ortiz later added.
It is in this scenario that I — along with other fans and media members — take issue with the way Ortiz went about his contract extension. Ortiz has the desire to be paid like “the man,” but claims to not want to be the featured hitter in the lineup. It’s a simple case, as the old cliché goes, of Ortiz wanting to have his cake and eating it, too. He wants superstar money but doesn’t think he should have to be the one to put up superstar statistics. As in all professional sports, you can’t have it both ways, but Ortiz continued to stomp his feet and complain through the media, which he also did before last season with the assumption that he would revisit the matter after this year — something that turned myself and many others against him.
That’s not to say Ortiz’s body of work did not warrant the extension. His postseason stats speak for themselves and he has always been a major part of the Red Sox lineup. It is simply the way he went about the process, going through the media and making statements that contradict one another, which aggravates me about the deal. I hope that he proves me wrong this season. I would love for Ortiz to continue to play at a high level and prove that he is worthy of the extension. Until that point, however, members of Red Sox Nation will take issue with the manner by which Ortiz went about the extension talks.