When I found out I was going to the Red Sox game on Monday night, I was ecstatic. For starters, I hadn’t been to a Sox game all year, so I was really happy that I was finally going to make a trip to Fenway. What I didn’t realize is that I was going to witness a game that would forever sit in Red Sox lore, not because of the result, but because it was the final game of a special player. The final game of a Boston sports icon. The final game of David “Big Papi” Ortiz.
The Red Sox found themselves trailing the Cleveland Indians by two games in a best of five series. They lost their first two games in Cleveland by scores of 5-4 and 6-0. Monday’s game not only had the series on the line, but also Ortiz’s career as well.
When Ortiz came out on the field for the first time, Fenway Park erupted into thunderous applause and cheers. I could sense the love that everyone had for him.
Despite putting forth a solid effort, when the final out was called, the scoreboard showed four runs for the Indians and only three for the Red Sox. The Red Sox had officially been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season was over.
When that final out was caught, almost immediately the whole stadium started chanting “Papi” over and over. Their love and unwavering support for the man affectionately known as “Big Papi” was on full display. The fact that Boston’s season was over didn’t mean nearly as much as the fact that Papi’s career was over.
Everyone knew he was going to come back out on the field, I mean he had to. All of Fenway was chanting his name. Eventually, Ortiz made his way out of the dugout for one last salute to the crowd, and I must say it was one of the most moving events I have ever experienced.
I have been to my fair share of emotional sporting events. I was at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park when Marco Sturm scored in overtime to cap the Bruins late rally. I was at game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, which was the first Stanley Cup game in Boston in 21 years. Those are only to name a few, but those are two of the most emotional events I had been to prior to this Red Sox game.
I can say, without a doubt, that this is the most moving thing I have ever seen. When the camera zoomed in on Ortiz’s face, I remember seeing one huge tear roll down his cheek and fall on the ground. I could sense the sadness in his heart that it was over. I also felt a sense of sadness in my own heart. I felt my eyes start to water. I am not an overly emotional person, but this was definitely tugging on my heart strings.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever witness anything that special ever again. I will be able to tell my kids and grand kids that I was at Big Papi’s last game. It’s something that I will forever hold in my heart. I love you Papi; thanks for everything.
Austin Sanidas can be contacted at Asanidas@kscequinox.com