Papi holds court

One of the most entertaining parts of Spring Training is always the annual state of David Ortiz address. Entering his 10th season with the Sox, Papi was in good spirits as he met with the press for 29 minutes and 20 seconds this morning.

Here are the highlights:

“Based on what happened the last month of the season last year it seemed like everything was going south. It didn’t matter what we did, it seemed like everything was going to end up the way it did. Now this year we’ve changed things around. You learn from your mistakes. You learn from your struggles. So I’m pretty sure everybody is on same page now and things are going to be different. We have a new manager, Bobby, and he has an idea what he wants to do with all of us and I’m pretty sure that he’s going to take over and try and do his job his best.”

Beer and chicken-gate? “Well, I don’t think … not because of the beer or the chicken. The problem was when they did it. If they come out and apologize, that means they’re not going to do it again. Because of that, you need to turn the page. We’re going to be thinking of the fried chicken and the beer that they had last September and March and February of 2012? No. you’re not going to resolve any problems with that. Now, we have a new skipper, he is aware of all this stuff and he’s going to try to change things around. That’s all you can do about it.”

Playing on a one-year contract? “I’ve been playing on one year contract for the past few years, right? Of course, you want not to have to worry about contracts. That ain’t for everybody. You know what I’m saying? I tried my best to sign for the next few years. It didn’t work out. But I’m happy with what I got. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m happy with it. I want to get over it. I’m back, I’m here, at least for another year. Like I always tell you guys, I’m going to try my best. I always try to change things around when I’m on the field. I think I’ve been a well representative of this organization for years. That’s what matters to me.”

Could Ortiz have done anything better last year? “Not hitting .340? I don’t know. I mean, I think, whatever happened between me and my manager, he called me into the office and told me what I did wrong [disputing an official scorer’s decision publicly]. I think that’s the best thing that can ever happen to a human being in general. And it’s because, like I say, you do things, that you think you’re doing the right thing but you ain’t. I didn’t do anything that reflected on some of the guys. Pretty much most of the things I do, when Tito used to call me into the office to say something to me, it wasn’t something that was affecting the team. It was something that I should not do because I have young guys looking out for me. So he didn’t want them to get the wrong idea about things. But it wasn’t a big deal.”

Kept in touch with Tito? “We talked a few times after the season, and I think he was just tired. He needs a break. He was in a good mood. I guess they agreed to be on the same page at a time. Tito was a close friend to me when he was the manager, and we got along pretty good. He called me the other day to congratulate me when I finalized my deal with the Red Sox. He was like, ‘You know, I don’t see you wearing another uniform.’ He was happy that we got into an agreement after anything, and he wished me good luck.”

Would Ortiz have made any wardrobe changes for the arbitration hearing, had their been one? “They told me not to wear my earrings in front of the judge. I was like, ‘Did I kill someone or something? What did I do that I’m not allowed to wear them in front of a judge?’ They were like, ‘You don’t want to have that much bling bling coming in and this and that, start on the wrong foot.”

Disbelief that the 2011 Red Sox didn’t make it to the playoffs: “I remember at one point during the season, I was like, ‘Man, this is the best ballclub that I have ever been into,’ because we were playing so good. When you’re playing that good in July, August, me personally, I already made up my mind that we would be  in the playoffs. And having the kind of drought that we had and moving forward towards the end of the season when you know that you’re running out of chances, that wears you out. That wears you out. I’m telling you, I was like having all this pressure that we’ve got to win to get to the playoffs, that’s something extra that you’ve got to bring to the table. After all, it was like, you know, I don’t know if you guys know, but I was very disappointed. But there’s nothing you can do about it this year. You have to pull yourself together and be ready to do damage next year.”

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