Fondly referred to as Big Papi, David Ortiz became a beloved figure in Boston for his prodigious power during the Boston Red Sox's two World Series runs. However, in the past couple of years, Ortiz and Boston have been a lightning rod for criticism due to some slow starts.
That criticism has taken a toll on Ortiz, as the team has often been cited as a squad without a true clubhouse leader. Following Boston's Monday night win, which got the team to .500 for the first time this month, Ortiz took umbrage with that assertion.
"I'm the kind of [expletive] who worries about winning games," Ortiz told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes after Monday's 8-6 win in Baltimore. "I'm a winner. I hate losing. But what I do, I don't do for everybody to know. I do it for us to get better and the trash talking out there to stop."
Ortiz was set off by a question about a team meeting he called May 11 in the wake of a golf outing pitcher Josh Beckett took while nursing an injured shoulder.
"Who told you about that meeting?" Ortiz asked reporters Monday night.
"Somebody wrote, 'Why didn't he do it earlier?' Earlier? When am I going to do it, in spring training? What did I do wrong? Seriously, what did I do wrong?
"You hit 54 home runs, then hit 35, it's not good enough. How many people hit 35? Never good enough, bro. That's why I don't care."
With the retirements of Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, the Red Sox have been viewed as devoid of any leadership presence. Ortiz hasn't attempted to be a public leader but claims everything he does is for his team.
"Well, let me tell you, I was reading an article [that] talked about the leaders people call 'leaders' in this town," he said following a night in which he hit his 10th homer of the season. "Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it's not good enough.
"And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?"
Ortiz also turned his ire on his own front office, claiming he's not respected by the team's executives.
"I don't get no respect," he said. "Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It's always hiding, for somebody to find out."
Leader or not, Ortiz said he thinks his meeting has had a positive effect on the team.
"We're playing better, we're winning, everybody is going about their business. And it's still May. Not late, like [some critics] want to say."