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Ray Duckler

Ray Duckler: Move over, Teddy; here comes Big Papi

  • David Ortiz laughs at the bobble heads of himself right before he presented them to Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    David Ortiz laughs at the bobble heads of himself right before he presented them to Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • From left: Alexandra Dipre of Salisbury, Heath Mann of Concord, 9, and Leevi Elliott of Boscawen, 9, wait for David Ortiz to make an appearance at the kickoff  of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    From left: Alexandra Dipre of Salisbury, Heath Mann of Concord, 9, and Leevi Elliott of Boscawen, 9, wait for David Ortiz to make an appearance at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Wally the Green Monster puts his hat back on after pretending to give a speech before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Wally the Green Monster puts his hat back on after pretending to give a speech before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Fans take photos as David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Fans take photos as David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Wally the Green Monster signs the jacket of Brian Sharkey of Concord, 2, as his mom Erin hold him before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Wally the Green Monster signs the jacket of Brian Sharkey of Concord, 2, as his mom Erin hold him before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Gov. Maggie Hassan and David Ortiz walk down out of the State House to kick off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Gov. Maggie Hassan and David Ortiz walk down out of the State House to kick off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Fans look up to catch a foam ball that Wally the Green Monster threw into the crowd before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Fans look up to catch a foam ball that Wally the Green Monster threw into the crowd before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014. Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • David Ortiz laughs at the bobble heads of himself right before he presented them to Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • From left: Alexandra Dipre of Salisbury, Heath Mann of Concord, 9, and Leevi Elliott of Boscawen, 9, wait for David Ortiz to make an appearance at the kickoff  of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Wally the Green Monster puts his hat back on after pretending to give a speech before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Fans take photos as David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Wally the Green Monster signs the jacket of Brian Sharkey of Concord, 2, as his mom Erin hold him before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Gov. Maggie Hassan and David Ortiz walk down out of the State House to kick off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • David Ortiz speaks at the kickoff of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Fans look up to catch a foam ball that Wally the Green Monster threw into the crowd before David Ortiz and Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the release of a new Boston Red Sox lottery scratch ticket at the State House Plaza in Concord on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Fans also could take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the World Series Trophy. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

Teddy Roosevelt once spoke at the State House, and he built the Panama Canal.

Dwight Eisenhower spoke there, too, and he led the invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe during World War II.

And now, add David Ortiz to that list of greatness. He’s single-handedly torn apart the Yankees over the past decade. He’s led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He’s recorded more big hits than Elvis and the Beatles, probably combined.

And that carries at least as much weight around here as building a silly old canal.

“Thank you for having me here,” Ortiz said to his fans, who packed the State House Plaza in Concord to hear him promote a new Red Sox-connected lottery. “I love New Hampshire, and I promise I will be back.”

Ortiz didn’t say much more. Only Wally the Green Monster, who showed up to shake his huge green butt and throw plastic baseballs to the crowd, had fewer words.

This is unusual for Ortiz, who has been outspoken his entire career. From steroids, to his contract, to dropping the F-bomb at Fenway after the marathon bombings, nothing is off limits to Big Papi.

With apologies to Gov. Maggie Hassan, Wally and Papi were the two most recognizable figures on those famous steps, Wally with his ginormous green head, Ortiz with his million-dollar smile.

Ortiz spoke for two minutes, saying nothing of substance, then brushed past the news media after someone inquired about the recent selfie he took with President Obama.

No one cared, though. Big Papi came here, to the State House, the stage for many celebrities through the decades, and that’s all that mattered.

He said he’s heard lots of good things about the state from his wife, and everyone cheered. He said his kids go skiing close by, and everyone cheered. He said he was honored to be part of the ceremony, and everyone cheered.

Marty Morse grew up a tomboy on the sandlots of Manchester, rooting for Carl Yastrzemski. Later, she loved Dewey Evans, then Ortiz, the face behind the exorcism of a hated curse in 2004.

“I love David Ortiz,” said Morse, 68. “I’d give anything to shake his hand and sign my jersey. He’s a class act, and he’s saved the day so many times.”

It’s hard to believe anyone in Red Sox history has had more clutch hits than Ortiz. In fact, let’s just say that no one has.

Just last year, in fact, he hit a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers in the League Championship Series. Then he batted .688 during Boston’s six-game win in the World Series.

.688.

That’s not a misprint.

His list of Fenway-shaking hits goes on forever, but nothing compares with what he did to the Yankees in the ’04 playoffs. He essentially moved the term “walk-off” into baseball’s lexicon.

A walk-off home run here, a walk-off single there, and Ortiz ended 86 years of pain, leading the Sox past the Yankees en route to their first World Series championship in 86 years.

Yankees fans have been licking their wounds since, and the Yankees have spent the past 10 years looking for a left-handed pitcher who could quiet Ortiz’s bat.

That’s why Patrick Galey of Concord picked up his stepson, 12-year-old Jacob Kelley, in the middle of a school day at Rumford Middle School and brought him downtown.

Jacob had his picture taken with the 2014 World Series trophy and got to see Big Papi.

“I like him because he’s stayed with the Red Sox all these years,” Galey said. “He’s all for community, and he’s a great role model.”

He’s a role model, fans insist, despite his past link to steroids.

Baseball fans have a selective memory. Barry Bonds was booed across the country, but cheered at his home park, in San Francisco.

Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun was booed all weekend at Fenway, presumably for his ties to performance-enhancing drugs and his 65-game suspension last year.

Five years ago, the New York Times reported that Ortiz’s name was on a list of players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Ortiz denied the report, and he never again was linked to cheating.

“Until something else comes out, you have to sit there and have a question mark in your head,” said Diane Belknap, who drove from Hillsboro to see Ortiz.

“Professional baseball people are taking care of that now,” Morse said. “I forgive him, if he in fact used them.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the writers vote once Ortiz is eligible for the Hall of Fame. Many of them have said they won’t vote for players associated in any way with steroids, and players like Bonds and Roger Clemens are now paying the price.

But that’s for another day. Ortiz recently signed a contract extension, almost guaranteeing he’ll retire with the Red Sox.

His legacy is secure here, and he was treated like a king on those famous steps, just beyond the two wooden doors overlooking Main Street and the statue of Daniel Webster.

An entourage came out first, a huge grouping of people including Hassan and Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy and state Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre and state troopers and photographers from the Red Sox and photographers from the news media and TV cameras from Channel 9 and others who looked like they played a role somehow, their eyes wide like dinner plates when Ortiz moved down the stairs, to the podium below.

E.J. Powers, a New Hampshire Lottery representative, said Ortiz would be available for an informal bull session with the media after the ceremony, off to the left.

“He’s on a tight schedule,” Powers said. “We’re trying to avoid questions about Selfie-Gate.”

Asked whether Ortiz might snap a selfie with Hassan, Powers said, “I don’t think you’re going to see that happen.”

Ortiz moved into the State House lobby, followed by a scrum of fans and news media. He disappeared down a staircase, heading toward North State Street, a really big state trooper blocking the path leading to the door.

Fans out front snapped pictures of the World Series trophy, near those famous steps.

A president who built a canal once spoke there.

And yesterday, a ballplayer who rarely speaks softly but carries a big stick did, too.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304, rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Legacy Comments5

He maybe we can get Papi to "move" to NH and run for governor or senator.

No Yankees fan here, but for sake of historical accuracy, they dispatched the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series, four games to two. That isn't consistent with "the Yankees have been licking their wounds ever since..." the 2004 ALCS. Just saying. Also, Ortiz exited from the side door of the State House on Park Street. That's where Papi signed autographs before climbing into a Back Bay bound black limo. I was there. Typical Ray Duckler article; long on text, short on content. This one could've been trimmed down to about half its size without suffering any loss of meat.

We need to get Ortiz's opinion on record regarding NP and casinos. Apparently people value his opinion.

Spoken like a true fan of the Evil Empire. Whenever you get sick of living in Red Sox Nation - feel free to return to Gotham.

There is no surer way to take your entertainment dollars out of NH than to spend them at Fenway. You'd stand a better chance of supporting a local at the NASCAR track. BTW, I tried to think of a current "evil Empire" player...I could only come up with Jeter.

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