Earlier in the week, Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankees would honor David Ortiz during his final trip to Yankee Stadium this year. Ortiz announced that he will retire after the 2016 season, which came as somewhat of a surprise since he just turned 40 and could reasonably play for several more years in the DH role, if he wanted to. He had previously stated that he had no intention of going on a "farewell tour" like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter did, going so far as to say "I'm not going to wake up and be like, 'I'm going to play this year and then not anymore.'" As it turns out, that is exactly what Ortiz did. It remains to be seen if he will honored by every team he faces during the season, like Rivera and Jeter were, but he is definitely going to be honored by the Yankees.
Ortiz differs from Jeter and Rivera because he's not quite as universally well-respected or liked as they were. He has a hot temper, which has been put on display at the plate and in the dugout. He also failed the 2003 drug test that was supposed to stay anonymous. When the news leaked, Ortiz said that he was surprised to hear that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It will be interesting to see what other teams do to honor Ortiz, if anything. Since the Yankees have said they are going to do something, it would make sense if the rest of the AL East followed suit, since those teams have faced Ortiz the most throughout his career. The Twins will likely honor him, since he spent the first six years of his career in Minnesota.
He may not be very well-liked by Yankee fans, but there's no question that Ortiz has had a great career. He has been a key part of the Red Sox's success over the last 13 years, and much of that success has come against the Yankees. Going into the 2016 season, Ortiz has played 224 games against the Yankees and has hit .306/.395/.565 with 47 home runs and 129 walks throughout his career. That is incredible, and frankly I won't be sad to see him go.
Steinbrenner said that he did not know just how the Yankees would honor Ortiz yet. Maybe they'll consider Boston's pre-game ceremonies for Jeter and Rivera and come up with something in a similar vein. For Rivera, the Red Sox played a video montage that somewhat questionably included highlights of his blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. They also showed highlights from Opening Day in 2005 when Red Sox fans cheered for Rivera, along with a painting depicting that moment. Additionally, they gave him the number 42 placard that hung on the Green Monster, a blue 1934 Fenway Park seat with the number 42 on it, and a pitching rubber from the visiting bullpen with a plaque. The Red Sox also gave Rivera a charitable donation. It could have been a really nice moment for Rivera, had they done away with the mocking portion of it. As for Jeter, the Red Sox gave him a customized second base bag, a donation to his Turn 2 Foundation worth $22,222.22, and a green RE2PECT sign from the Green Monster itself.
The Twins gave Rivera one of the greatest gifts of all time during his farewell tour--a rocking chair made out of broken bats. Maybe the Yankees could present Ortiz with a rocking chair made out of...broken dugout phones. Or a montage of all of his strikeouts against Yankee pitchers.
How do you think the Yankees should honor Ortiz?