Ortiz at peace with retirement decision
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Fifteen days after David Ortiz took the occasion of his 40th birthday to announce that 2016 will be his final season, the slugger expressed no regrets.
"Not really. I pretty much was thinking about it for a while, and I had the opportunity to take my time to do it, and once you take your time, I think there's no regrets," Ortiz said.
This weekend, Ortiz is hosting the annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic in the Dominican Republic, which raises money for children in need of open-heart surgery.
Ortiz announced his retirement via a video on the Players Tribune. This week marks the first time he's answered questions about the decision that came as a surprise to some.
"Yeah, I was a little surprised, but not shocked," said Larry Lucchino, the president/CEO emeritus for the Red Sox. "A little surprised. It makes good sense when you step back for a second and look at his career and his stature to do it this way."
Though Ortiz has had minimal dropoff over the past couple of seasons, the Achilles injury that cost him the final two months of the 2012 season changed his perspective.
"Like I say, it's a process and not a decision you make from day to night," Ortiz said. "I had an injury in 2012, and since that injury, it's [a case of] getting older, and you have to do things differently so you can continue playing."
For Ortiz, the process of getting his body ready to play has become more time consuming.
"I had the opportunity to continue playing all the games that I played after that because I prepared myself," Ortiz said. "Through that preparation, through that time, you start viewing things from a different perspective. That was my case. That's why I said I had time to view things before I made the decision.
"All the time you have with your family and everyone around you, the people that work with you, they pretty much see your situation and see what your thoughts are and everybody supported you. In my case, like I said, I had the opportunity to think about it for a long time, and it is what it is. I know I feel good."
Ortiz might wind up being one of the rare star athletes who can go out while still near the top of his game.
"I know things are going well. I had a good season last year, and I'm definitely going to pull myself together to have another good one this year," Ortiz said. "That was my decision, and it is what it is."
Ortiz has certainly made his mark during his time in Boston, which started in 2003.
"I can't talk about how much I admire him personally. He's been the heart and soul of this club for a long time," said Lucchino. "And when I say heart, I'm talking about things like he's doing down here, for charity. It just comes naturally to him.
"Just one of the greatest Red Sox players of all-time, and not just because what he did on the field. Just an example of how big his heart is, how massive his impact has been. It's obviously bittersweet because this day was inevitable, but you hoped it would not come for a while. David used to joke that he could hit until he was 50."