Big Papi steals spotlight as USA wins Futures Game
David Ortiz drew so many pals and well-wishers, it took him nearly three minutes just to climb a few dugout steps. He then swung behind the batting cage, gave Vladimir Guerrero a playful pat, and spotted another Hall of Famer along the first base side.
“What’s goin’ on, Papi?” a grinning Dave Winfield asked.
Yep, Big Papi is still a big hit wherever he goes, whatever he does.
On Sunday, that meant a new job: The retired Red Sox great became a manager at the All-Star Futures Game, guiding the minor league talent on the World squad at Nationals Park.
Final score: U.S. 10, World 6.
“Being a manager is not that easy, I’m telling you it’s not that easy,” he said after the game.
“Being a manager is stressful, especially when things are not going good,” he said, laughing.
And no surprise, Ortiz doesn’t have any intention of making this a full-time gig at any level.
“That is not on my bucket list,” the 42-year-old Ortiz said.
Luis Basabe got to see that big smile up close. A top young talent for the Chicago White Sox, the 21-year-old from Venezuela was picked by Ortiz to lead off and play center field. He rewarded his manager’s faith by hitting a home run.
Asked how it felt to share space with Ortiz, his eyes grew wide.
“His name ... Big Papi ... that name means a lot,” Basabe said. “A legend, a good teammate, a champion.”
Dodgers catching prospect Keibert Ruiz met Ortiz on Saturday.
“It’s awesome. Unbelievable. I saw David Ortiz with Boston Red Sox hitting home runs and then I saw he was manager in the futures game, unbelievable,” he said.