David Ortiz showed off his 40-year-old wheels and stole a base for the first time since 2013
David Ortiz is many things. He's a crusher of dingers, a bringer of quotes and a mythic legend living in modern times.
What he's not is fleet of foot. And while the slugger has stolen 15 bases in his big league career, he hadn't swiped one since 2013 (when he shockingly stole a career-high four bases).
But at age 40, Ortiz made sure that he wouldn't see a goose egg in the "SB" column of his final season stat line. In the bottom of the seventh of Friday's game against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox holding a slim 5-3 lead, Ortiz got a great jump and surprised the defense.
Like a flash of lightning, he was off, reaching a Statcast™-measured top speed of 16.4 mph as he pulled into the uncovered base. The Red Sox fans made sure to show their appreciation as a "Papi!" chant broke out in the stands, perhaps trying to will him to swipe third.
While the steal was plenty of fun for fans, Red Sox manager John Farrell knew it was a decision that could have proved important for the Red Sox. As Farrell told MLB.com's Ian Browne:
"It's a two-run game. If Blake slices one down in the corner, it's an additional run. While that 90 feet might be something we don't see very often for David, it was in a key moment. He understands that [Joe] Biagini is really not paying a whole lot of attention to him and he takes it when it was presented."
Ortiz, though, played down the significance, saying, "Got two strikes. It was a good time to go." This despite the steal putting him in some great company for age-40 base thieves:
Despite that list including a pitcher and a slugger who wasn't a great fan of the stolen base, Ortiz still trails them all:
Next on Papi's final season bucket list? He could lay down his first sacrifice bunt since 2008.