Of all the great hits that David Ortiz has had in his year-plus with the Red Sox, the one that would cement his status as a Boston sports legend — and hero of the human race — is less than a foot away from reality in this photo. Stretch that left arm, David, and let loose your mighty fist into the gaping maw of that grandstanding parasite. And once he flops on the floor, babbling in and out of unconciousness, do me one more favor: reach into his pocket, pull out his wallet, and take back that $8 he owes me for watching Reindeer Games. Don’t send it back to me, David. Keep it for yourself, buy yourself a nice cocktail at The Rack during this six-game homestand. You can go 0-for-300 the rest of the season and you’ll still be my hero.
“Rational Red Sox fan” sounds like a contradiction in terms, but there are a few of us out there. We’re sad that the 2004 season started off with one in the loss column, but take comfort in knowing there are 161 games left to work out the kinks. Obsessing over the first game as a harbinger of full-season doom is insane, like thinking your cross-country trip to California is ruined because you accidentally took a left turn instead of a right out of your driveway.
The sports headlines cry havoc as well: “Boston’s Martinez Has Poor First Outing,” “Ace Out Of Place.” You’d think Pedro was leaning on a walker and throwing underhand in between shots of Centrum Silver by the tone of those articles. Here’s Petey’s box score from Sunday:
IP H R ER BB SO ERA P Martinez 6 7 3 2 1 5 3.00
Not Pedro’s best stuff, no doubt. But poor? Chan Ho Park would kill for a line like that. Jeff D’Amico won’t pitch one game that well all season. Let’s not start shoveling dirt on the diminutive Dominican quite yet. If he strings four or five average starts in a row, then I’ll start giving current sportswriters running on auto-pilot a little more leeway for hyperbole.
But baseball is not like politics, thank God. You don’t go from grand prize contender to washed-up has-been on the basis of one error-prone night early in the race.