I have a special treat for all you Boston Red Sox fans out there in the greatest nation in the world, Red Sox Nation. I was asked by the fine people at Holtzbrinck Publishers to take a look at and review David “Big Papi” Ortiz’s new book entitled, ‘Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits’ which he wrote with Tony Massarotti. The book will be hitting bookstores in approximately 2 weeks on April 17th and can be bought at bookstores nationwide or preordered at Amazon.com. There is even a Spanish version as well.

Once I get my copy of the book, I will be reading and reviewing it here on the site. I also hope to be able to get a few extra copies to give away. I won’t know that until they ship my book out. If I do receive the books, I will be giving them away on our radio show, The Hits Keep Coming…, on a future episode. We would probably do some type of Big Papi trivia contest and the winner would receive a copy of the book. I will have more on this once I know if this will be possible.

So for the next three days, we will be taking a look at excerpts from the book. If you would like to read part 1, click on the more button below.

Chapter One

The Birth of Big papi

To be honest, I still laugh about it sometimes. I’ll be out there on the field, warming up
for a game or something, and somebody from the other team will come over and ask me:
“What’s up, Papi?” I might not even know the guy, might not even recognize him, but he
knows me by my nickname. So I’ll say hello back—“Wassup, dude?”—and then get back
to my running or stretching or whatever. But inside, I’ll be laughing.

I’m really not sure how it started, bro. I have no idea. After I got to Boston and started
playing for the Red Sox, I would walk around the clubhouse and talk to guys, and I
starting calling them papi. Some of my teammates did it, too. Someone like Manny
Ramirez would walk by a reporter or someone whose name he didn’t really know, and he
would say things like, “How you doing, papi?” or “It’s a beautiful day, papi!” and people
would laugh. In the Dominican Republic, we use the word all the time, like Americans
would use “buddy” or “pal,” but it’s more like “daddy” or “pops.” It’s just the way we
talk. And in Boston, before we knew it, everybody on the team was calling everyone else
“papi,” and it wasn’t too long before the name somehow belonged to me.

David Ortiz.

Big Papi.

Wherever I go now, bro, that’s what people call me. I’m serious. Whenever I come out of
the dugout before a game, if it’s in winter ball or spring training or the playoffs, the fans
all start screaming it. Even in the Dominican Republic, where anybody can be papi, that’s
what everybody calls me. Before the 2006 season, when we had the World Baseball
Classic for the first time, I couldn’t go anywhere without people calling out my name.
There were teams there from the United States and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico,
Venezuela, and Cuba. There were teams and fans from everywhere. And no matter where
I went, no matter who we were playing against, the people all knew my name from seeing
me on television or in the newspaper, or wherever.

It’s funny, bro

And it took me a little while to get used to it.
Since I got to Boston—since 2004, especially—a lot of things have changed. My life is
totally different now. I’m still the same person—still my mom’s baby—no matter how
different things get. It can be hard for me now to go places, especially when I’m home in
the Dominican, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. All my life, I’ve had good people
around me, people who gave me good advice and tried to teach me things. My mom. My
pop. My wife, my family, and my friends. I’ve always been the kind of person who tries
to focus on the good things, who tries to take the positive out of something. My mom was
the same way, and my pop is, too, and my parents always tried to teach me to get better at
things, to improve, to work at them and to keep trying, no matter what happens. That’s
what we should all try to do, bro—to keep getting better, no matter what we do.

So starting again this year, in 2007, that’s my goal: to get better

Since I got to Boston—even before—I feel like I’ve been getting better every year.
People always ask me how that happened, if there’s some secret or something, and I
always tell them the same thing: It’s confidence and hard work. In 2002, my final year
playing for the Minnesota Twins, I hit 20 homers in about 400 at-bats, and I thought that
was pretty good. In 2003, my first year in Boston, I hit 31 homers in about 450 at-bats.
Since that time, when the Red Sox started playing me everyday, I’ve hit 41 homers (in
2004), 47 homers (in 2005) and 54 homers (in 2006). Basically, my RBIs have been
going up, too. I even missed some time last year late in the season, so I know I can be
better. Maybe I can hit 60 homers. Maybe I can hit 70. Maybe I can help the Red Sox win
another World Series.

It sounds crazy, right? But let me tell you: If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish
almost anything. You need the confidence and you need the support, but you can do it.
Trust me.

Copyright © 2007 by David Ortiz with Tony Massarotti. All rights reserved.