Boston Red Sox David Ortiz: Between His Potential Dropoff and Boston’s Locker Room Issues, the Media Blows Things Out of Proportion

February 27, 2012 – 9:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

The Boston Red Sox collapse at the end of last season has been thoroughly hashed out by this point, including the whole story including beer and chicken in the locker room. The question now in 2012 is how the team will look back on that whole saga and what it has learned.

Designated hitter David Ortiz says the whole thing was definitely a learning experience, but also takes some time to call the media out for blowing a lot of the story out of proportion. He says not only in the locker room situation, but the time when he barged in on a Terry Francona press conference and now the questions coming up on whether he himself will suffer a slump like Jim Rice did at his age were all blown up.

David Ortiz joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss those talking about his potential slump, the Red Sox collapse last year, the disappointment in the season as a whole, the locker room misbehavior, his clean bill in regards to receiving discipline, the Francona press conference incident and his new contract.

On the talk that you could have see a dropoff this year to the likes of Jim Rice at the same age in 1989:

“I don’t really care about what anybody says. You can say whatever you want. That won’t get in my way. I look at myself as a guy that, when I was 15, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be. So, nobody can come out right now and tell me who I’m going to be tomorrow or the next day or the next few days. The problem was how people want to put negativity on people’s heads. I don’t think it’s fair. … These people are always talking trash. I’ve been here 10 years. They always have something to say. … I’m not Jim Rice. I’m David Ortiz. We’ve got to be different.”

How did the team react after the collapse to end last season?:

“Right after the season, I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t think there was one person in Red Sox Nation that was happy about the way we ended. Things were going so good, and it was like turning a switch off for us. Me, when I saw the way we were playing in August, at the beginning, and through June and July, I was like, well, there’s no question that we’re going to the playoffs. Having that drop the way it happens, it just sucks out all your energy and gets yourself thinking. And what people sometimes don’t realize is that from a situation like that, you learn a lot of things. You can never take anything for granted in baseball. Because you can go from top to bottom in a heartbeat, and that’s what happened to us last year. And I’m 100 percent sure there’s a lot of my teammates thinking about the same thing.”

On why the disappointment lies more on the entire season than just the final loss:

“I don’t blame the situation that happened last year on the last game that we lost. I blame things on what we went through the whole year, those games that we had right there that got away from us, and situations like that. All of that counts toward the end of the season. Hopefully, everybody learns from it and takes advantage of it this year.”

Do you think you guys learned from the locker room misbehavior?:

“I think people learn from their mistakes. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be better judgment this year about situations. This whole drinking and getting fried chicken thing has been blown up bigger than what it is. That’s the way I see it.”

On how he’s never faced discipline in his career:

“I’m a grown-ass man. I’ve got to make up my own mind. I’ve been here 10 years. I don’t say that it’s never going to happen, but there hasn’t been the day a GM or owner has pulled me to the side just to correct me on something that I’m doing wrong, or violating the rules here.”

What about the goofy situation last year when you burst into Terry Francona’s press conference because you were mad about a decision made by the official scorer?:

“You guys blow that up.” Would you do that again?: “If you try to take an RBI away from me, yes. Oh, yeah. … I wasn’t looking forward to sticking my head in the press conference. I walk in, he was in the middle of the press conference. All I told him was, ‘I need to talk to you after you’re done.’ But then you guys find out what it was I was trying to talk to him about and then, boom, blow it [out of proportion].”

On the one-year contract he signed in the offseason:

“I was looking for something else. It didn’t work out. I’m happy with what I got. We got into an agreement before we walked into that [arbitration] room. And I think it was very respectful from them, just come down and be like, ‘Here’s what we’ve got,’ or whatever. And I just agreed to it. Like I told them, let’s move on and try to win this year.”

Listen to David Ortiz on WEEI in Boston here

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