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Boston Red Sox to retire David Ortiz's No. 34 jersey

Boston Red Sox to retire David Ortiz's No. 34 jersey

Posted by PanamericanWorld on October 03, 2016

The Red Sox sent David Ortiz off before his final regular-season game with a promise that he will return.

This week, in the playoffs, when he goes for his fourth World Series title.

And next year, when they hang his No. 34 from the Fenway facade among the team's retired numbers.

During a pregame ceremony Sunday attended by Red Sox greats like Carl Yastrzemski and teammates from Ortiz's three World Series championships, the ballclub honored the soon-to-retire slugger by draping a Dominican flag over the Green Monster and bringing out his father — Big Papi's real Papi — to join him on the diamond.

Ortiz broke into tears when he mentioned his late mother before gathering himself to thank his teammates and members of the organization from owner John Henry to clubhouse attendant Pookie Jackson. He also thanked the fans — dropping to one knee and tipping his cap to the crowd — along with the media, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina, who were both in attendance.

"He changed the Red Sox," Manfred said before the game. "He was a key part of the amazing three wins here. It changed the course of the franchise.

"But I also think that he changed the city. He became a symbol of the strength of the city and will always be remembered for that."

Ortiz announced in November on his 40th birthday that this would be his final year, setting up a season-long farewell tour around the major leagues.

As the home team, the Red Sox get to go last.

Here are some other sights and sounds from Ortiz's farewell:


Ortiz had a chance to tie the game in the ninth, when he came up with one out and nobody on and the Red Sox trailing by one. He hit a weak nubber in front of the plate.

In all, he was hitless in four at-bats as Toronto won 2-1 and clinched the AL's top wild-card berth.

"I'm exhausted. I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "This past week caught up to me. I'm so happy that it's over so I can focus on what's coming up next — the playoffs."

Losses in five of their last six games cost the Red Sox a chance at home-field advantage when their AL Division Series against Cleveland begins on Thursday. Boston will instead host Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Monday, if necessary.


The Green Monster scoreboard read: "Thanks, Big Papi." Banners hung from the light stanchions above. And Ortiz's image was mowed into the center-field grass, as it has been for the entire season-ending series against the Blue Jays.

Fans in the right-field bleachers held up cards that formed Ortiz's No. 34 during the ceremony. During the game, the cards revealed the message: "Thanks, Papi."

And of course there were the three World Series championship banners behind home plate, all thanks in part to Ortiz. During the ceremony, Mike Lowell, Pedro Martinez and Jonny Gomes carried out the World Series trophies.

Mary J. Blige sang the "Star-Spangled Banner," as she did before Game 1 of the 2013 Series. The Red Sox also played the Dominican national anthem in Ortiz's honor, and Medina threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

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