It is physically impossible for me to be cynical about the retirement of David Ortiz. On the contrary, I spend the better part of my days worrying just what Post-Papi Life is going to feel like. But it is interesting to see the cash cow that Ortiz’s last hurrah has become. From the Big Papi specialty shop on Yawkey hawking $45 t-shirts to the Big Papi Donuts at Dunks, everyone seems to be getting a piece of the action.
The folks who stand to make the tidiest profit are the people selling tickets to Ortiz’s last game in Boston, which is supposed to be Sunday, October 2 against the Jays. As of this writing, the cheapest seats at Stub Hub are standing room only tix on the third base pavilion for a mere $150. And when I see field box seats for that game fetching over $1,000 each, I struggle with balancing the need to eat with the thought of rationalizing such a purchase. “What if he pulls a Yaz and runs the park on his last day, highfiving all the fans,” I find myself wondering aloud. “Do I really want to miss the chance to be part of that?” You can bet your ass at Casinority, the answer is “no.”
I don’t mean to sound bitter, like Charlie Brown railing against the commercialization of Christmas. If we have to spend our extra cash on something, why the hell not spend it on David Ortiz merchandise. But I don’t need jelly donuts tattooed with “34” to remind me that something magical, something almost otherworldly, is crashing to an end in roughly 30 days. That’s right, unless the Sox end up making the playoffs, we’ve got just one measly month left of watching The Large Father lumber to the plate with the game on the line, play grab-ass with his fellow Dominican players or wrap his massive arms around whatever group of kids happens to be visiting the Red Sox dugout that day.
If I was running the show, I’d give a big middle finger to the scalpers and just open Fenway Park up to everybody on that day. Yeah, I know there are fire codes and safety issues but just let me roll with the fantasy for a moment. A moment in which the Sox run Ortiz off the field at game’s end and drive him in a duck boat up and down Comm Ave all day, so that everyone gets the chance to give him a high-five or at the very least say they were there when he rode off into the sunset. Sure, a World Series parade would be even better. But in lieu of that, this is how I’d like to see him out.
Yes, the end is near. And it’s a tough pill to swallow. And no amount of donuts is gonna make it any easier.
Gin, on the other hand…