Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora remembers his former teammate David Ortiz as “bigger than life” after shooting in the Dominican Republic
“One thing about David, he’s strong, he has no fear, he never shows weaknesses,” a visibly distraught Cora said on Monday at Fenway Park.
Ortiz was in a nightclub back home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Sunday night when he was shot in the back in an ambush. Taken to a local hospital, he underwent a six-hour operation to remove a part of his colon and gallbladder but he is expected to survive. The Red Sox sent a plane to the Dominican Republic to bring “Big Papi” back to Boston for further treatment.
Ortiz had a Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Red Sox, but for Cora, who was teammates with Ortiz from 2005 to 2008, what sticks out isn’t his performance on the field but rather his presence in the clubhouse.
“I always said that this guy is bigger than life,” Cora said. “That vibe he brought in on a daily basis to those teams and what he brings any time I see him, that smile … Back home, they talk about superheroes without capes. He is a superhero without a cape. That’s the way we see him.”
Cora says he first got the call about Ortiz’s shooting late Sunday night but couldn’t come up with any words to describe the emotions he felt in that moment. As two Latino ballplayers, the Puerto Rican Cora and the Dominican Ortiz shared a bond during their years together. Ortiz was and continues to be a role model for Latino players, and tributes came pouring in from players like Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano and Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox held a moment of silence before Monday’s game against Texas in honor of Ortiz.
Ortiz likely has a long road back to recovery, but Cora insists the entire Red Sox organization will be behind him the entire way and welcome him back. “When he comes back, he will be taken care of and he’ll be back with us,” he said. “He’ll be in that clubhouse with that big smile and that huge heart.”
That’s how Cora chooses to remember Ortiz, and it’s that persona that has all of Major League Baseball in disbelief and in shock that a man who seemed like a superhero could be waylaid like this.