Papi didn't announce retirement for farewell tour
Red Sox slugger says he did it so fans can make plans to see him play
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- David Ortiz felt it was important to give his fans and the Red Sox fair notice that he is retiring at the end of the 2016 season. But he didn't do it to set up the type of lavish ceremonies around the Major Leagues that Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter experienced.
Does Ortiz think teams will recognize him in this fashion when he makes his final stop in each road city?
"No idea. I know they did that for DJ and Mariano," said Ortiz. "Those guys are well-deserved. I didn't announce my retirement because I was expecting any of it. I announced it because I know our fans have a hard time getting into Fenway and I know that they would love to watch me play in my last season. I want to make sure before we get there, they get comfortable with their tickets and stuff. That's why I announced it."
Ortiz will leave it up to respective teams to decide whether they want to honor him.
"It's fine with me [either way]," Ortiz said. "Like I say, I'm not expecting anything from anyone. It's up to you if you would like to do something like that."
As the host of his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic this weekend, Ortiz clearly looks relaxed and in his element. He knows that the end of his baseball career is near, but he wants the final chapter to be one that people will remember forever.
"I would like to go home with a championship," Ortiz said. "I think the way [Red Sox president of baseball operations] Dave Dombrowski is doing things, I love it. I love it. I think he has an ace now. He's got a closer. I wouldn't mind if we get another power hitter."
Of course, the Red Sox still have a premier power hitter in Ortiz, who belted 37 homers last season at the age of 39.
"I feel like David is going to have such a year that he's going to have to rethink when his retirement is going to be," said Pedro Martinez, Ortiz's close friend and former teammate. "That's how I feel. I see David so dedicated to training, and now he's feeling better than he ever did probably five years ago. I'm hoping that because of the way he feels, he performs and actually delays it a little bit."
That is probably wishful thinking from Martinez. Ortiz seems to have his mind made up.
"I know that I probably could play a couple of years more, but that's not going to be the case," Ortiz said. "Look, I've been playing baseball 33 years out of my 40 and baseball has been great to me and I love the game and I'm always going to stay in touch with the game. I think someone at my stage, he would love to experience the next chapters in his life and that's what I'm trying to do.
"My family is developing and is growing up; my kids are growing up. I'd love to be around them more and baseball won't allow me to. I think it's time for me to pass that torch and pretty much get to experience something about life that I don't really know about. "
Ortiz asked Martinez for advice on how to go about making his retirement plans.
"We talked about it, even before the  season started. He told me exactly what his plan was. I'd be the one he would probably tell before anyone else," Martinez said. "I said, 'You know what, just think about it, but just announce it so they can actually honor you the way you should. Don't do it like I did.'"
Martinez's last pitch wound up being in a loss in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
"I went away thinking I was going to come back. And once I got home, it was bye-bye baseball. It wasn't the right way," Martinez said. "I think the fans should have gotten an impression that I was going to go away. You never know. With David, I think he's doing the right thing announcing it."
For Ortiz, the game -- and the success -- was getting harder to attain each year.
"I was thinking about it through the season because your body starts giving up on some things that you're kind of used to doing," Ortiz said. "You guys always expect me to be a monster during the season. It's not easy to keep up with that, and the minute you struggle, you know how people start viewing things and I don't blame them.
"They know you're getting older, they know that as you get older, your ability starts walking away from you. In my case, I know the whole package. I'm not stupid. I know what it takes to be who I am and I take a lot of pride in that. I'm getting to the point where things are not as easy as they used to be. I don't want to disappoint anyone so I made the decision."