In honor of David Ortiz having his No. 34 retired by the Red Sox, MLB.com and John Hancock are celebrating Big Papi's greatest career moments with the "Papi 10 List," counting down one legendary moment each day leading up to tonight's pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.It will go down as
In honor of David Ortiz having his No. 34 retired by the Red Sox, MLB.com and John Hancock are celebrating Big Papi's greatest career moments with the "Papi 10 List," counting down one legendary moment each day leading up to tonight's pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.
It will go down as one of the most memorable 57-word speeches in the history of any sporting venue.
When Ortiz grabbed the microphone and addressed his city in such a concise, powerful and salty way on April 20, 2013, he put himself in the pantheon of public figures who have represented Boston.
The tragic bombings had taken place at the Boston Marathon earlier in the week, and this was the first home game back at Fenway for the Red Sox. Just one day earlier, the entire city had been shut down for a manhunt to find the suspects.
• Papi 10 List: Ortiz's greatest moments
It was all so raw when Ortiz was given the opportunity to speak during the emotionally charged pregame ceremonies that focused on civic pride.
"All right. All right, Boston," Ortiz said. "This jersey that we wear today, it doesn't say Red Sox. It says Boston. We want to thank you, Mayor [Tom] Menino, Gov. [Deval] Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our f------ city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
The crowd roared with appreciation, and not even the FCC took exception with Ortiz's choice of words. He re-enacted the speech in the motion picture "Patriots Day," which was released in 2016.
There was no pre-meditation to what Ortiz said on that Saturday in 2013. He simply spoke from the heart.
"This past week, I don't think there was one human being who wasn't affected by what we got going on down here," Ortiz said after the Red Sox beat the Royals that day. "This past week for me, myself, I was very emotional and angry about the whole situation and got to get that out of my chest and make sure our fans and everyone in the nation knows that this is a great nation, and part of it was supporting each other when everything went down."
The Red Sox went on to have a magical 2013 season, capped by the third World Series championship of Ortiz's career.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.