Arena: David Ortiz

Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

This has been a tough year for sports fans everywhere. Basketball fans around the globe commemorated Kobe Bryant with a farewell tour and in typical mamba fashion, he finished with 60 points in his final game with the Los Angeles Lakers. Peyton Manning went out with a Super Bowl ring and a slew of NFL fans in tears over his retirement, known for his glory days as a legendary QB and a likable guy. Soon, David Ortiz will join the leading athletes who retired in 2016 and the sports world will one again be shaken by the departure of a legend. 

The guy is 40 years old and he still plays with the passion of an ambitious rookie. After being drafted to the Red Socks in 2004, he immediately sprung into action as an impact player the following year. He stepped up and played a crucial role for the Red Sox in their first World Series championship that ended an 86 year drought. For 86 years, Red Sox fans all over New England and the entire United States have had the constant image of Babe Ruth and his larger than life presence, in their nightmares. For 86 years, the curse of The Great Bambino was alive and the Red Sox were unable to break such a curse. However, in 2004, the Red Sox had their fortune changed with their own larger than life presence, a man they called Big Papi. Fans all over the United States had been filled the excitement with the tremendous play of Big Papi who had led the 2004 Red Sox, in a comeback victory against the New York Yankees after a 3 games to none deficit in the American League Championship series. With the incredible play of Big Papi, the Red Sox had pulled off the impossible and had reversed the curse that had haunted them for so long. 12 years later and the Red Sox are getting ready to send off Big Papi David Ortiz into retirement and celebrate the accomplished career of a fan favorite and legend. To the fans of Boston, Papi is an icon who holds a special place in their heart for bringing back honor to the city of Boston and create a winning tradition. After the 2016 season, Ortiz’s career will come to a close and the Red Sox will have to play without the heart and soul of their organization.

Ortiz will go down in history as a Boston Red Sox slugger who could intimidate just about any pitcher with his thunderous presence. He is not stopping any time soon. Ortiz is not playing like someone who is at the end of his career as he continues to leave his mark on the sport this season. He has hit 31 home runs this year and leads the league in slugging. He has always strived to be the best as allayer who lead his team to three World Series championships in the past 10 years. It only seems just that the MLB world gives him a memorable farewell to conclude an amazing career. And as he tours the country, teams everywhere are giving the Red Socks' longtime DH personalized gifts and video tributes in a nod to his greatness. Ortiz wants to be remembered as a lovable soul and a one of a kind player, but the official mark of greatness might not be in his future. There is no guarantee that he will end up in the MLB Hall of Fame as the voters have yet to induct a DH. He also got into a sticky situation while in the prime of his career in 2009. He was tested positive during a drug test and while he tried to defend his innocence, some people have discussed his use of PEDs. It has not been a recurring issue as the star has not run into any drug issues after the incident, but it certainly tainted his persona. He will still be remembered for begin a legend, whether is has a label or not. Although he is struggling to leave the game forever, he can walk away knowing that he made his fans proud for 20 years. 

"I'm really proud of what I had accomplished through the years," Ortiz said. I'm very thankful for having fans like you guys who have support me through my career. I wish I could pay another 40 years." Despite his farewell season, he continues to play at a high level. There has not player in MLB history who lead the league in slugging or OPS in his final season and with less than a few weeks way until the end of the season, Ortiz leads in both categories. In his final season, Ortiz will give his fans something to remember. Farewell Big Papi.