If you’ve even seen a single Red Sox game on TV this season, you’ve almost certainly seen former slugger David Ortiz rolling around with someone else’s ‘cousin’ from Boston in a Sam Adams beer commercial.
The winners of a Boston Beer Co. competition recently spent time with Ortiz in a Red Sox-Yankees game, where he also made himself available for an interview on beer, baseball and family.
How did you get involved with Sam Adams? Were you a beer drinker before?
Beer was not really my thing. I was a Scottish guy. But then I went to the hospital for something that happened to me. [Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic in 2019.] So while I was watching commercials, the beer commercial made me thirsty. And I said to myself, when I’m out of here and I can drink, I’ll crush beer.
What is your favorite beer?
IPA, of course.
What is another drink you enjoy?
I like Scottish. I like to feel it right away. [laughs]
What is your perfect meal and what drink would you pair it with?
Sunday is my family day. I work a lot, during the week I get a little busy. But on Sundays I like to play music at home, salsa music. Then throw a steak on the grill, find some lobster because I live down in Miami, and some beer. Because Miami is always hot, so out there you need to keep it cool, you will not lose anything.
Do you still like coming to Fenway? And how often do you come?
I love coming to Fenway. I’m coming over the season – I have a contract with the Red Sox as a consultant, so I’m coming to Fenway probably five to eight times.
But every time I come here, I love it. I get interrupted, but then I come here and I get connected to what I used to do.
What was your favorite place to hit a home run, and why?
Besides here? New York. It used to get really loud when I used to go to the plate and then it got really quiet when I hit it.
In fact, I loved New York fans. Because it was nothing disrespectful. When they see me, they say to me, ‘Hey, I’m a Yankee fan, but I love you and I respect you.’ The only fans on the entire planet who say that.
In the World Series 2013, you hit .688. How did it feel and what do you remember about it?
I do not think Miami has gotten that hot. That was fun, man. Every time I wear this uniform is special to me and I want to do something for the fans. Thank God I got so hot and we won the World Series. It was a very special time.
Do you have a favorite World Series? I suppose 2004 is there because it was so important.
You know they all had something special. Remember 2013, it was after the bombing here. It was like a city promised. This was a distraction, you know, winning a World Series. That was very important. But 2004 was also very special, so I always have a hard time choosing just one.
What was your first impression of Boston?
When I first got here, I was like a little kid, just looking at the history and everything this city had built over the years. But then things got serious when I got shots to play. Boston will always be a special city in my heart.
Tell me a funny story about one of your former teammates.
Manny [Ramirez]. [Dustin] Pedroia used to be in the hot tub and Manny used to just jump in with him. And I’m talking about a spa the size of this table right here. [We were at a small high top.] It was not that big. We had so much fun back then.
If you could change one thing about baseball, what would it be?
Today? I would probably promote baseball image better. Because those guys out there do a good job, but a lot of them go down the street and no one knows who they are.
What is your impression of this year’s Red Sox?
Alex. Alex Cora, man, he knows how to put these kids on the same page and make them want to go out there and get things done. And the pitching this year is far better than last year – to have [Chris] Selling back is a plus. And the chemistry is back.
Can this team remind you of something you were on?
Enough 2013. A lot of young, talented players. We had a downfall the year before and no one thought we were going to jump back and be so good the following season. These guys had a year last year that was bad and see how they play this year. It’s hard to change baseball from one year to another.
Next year, you will potentially be inducted into the Hall of Fame ballot. What are your thoughts, and projects for me what you think is going to happen.
It will be an honor to be part of the Hall of Fame when I have the opportunity to be inducted. I do not know when it will happen, but hopefully it will happen one day. It’s an elite group. When you become a part of it, it is a very special time.
Do you think you should be a first vote Hall of Famer?
To be honest with you, I did everything I could to control, play baseball and put numbers. I can not control anything else. But I think I should. I have the numbers, do you know what I’m saying? We’ll see how it goes.
A few years ago, your daughter, Alex, sang the national anthem here. Is she still singing?
Yes, she’s going to Berklee now. She’s good, she’s good at it.
Your son Di’Angelo, he plays baseball, right?
Yes, he’s 17, he’s a big boy right now. He plays third base, he goes to high school now.
What do you think about watching him play?
He wants it. That’s all I care about; you want it or you do not want it. If you want it, you get closer to what you want to be. If you do not want it and you try it, you will never get there. I will always make sure that he educates himself, gets good grades, because that is also very important to me.
What is something you learned while you were a father?
You have to be patient. Patience is a good thing when you are a father, because I did not have much time to screw up when I was a child, because I was always busy. You’ve screwed up, but some kids more than some others. And then you grow up and you think kids shouldn’t screw up. That’s when patience starts and say hello, take it easy, give them some space. I love my kids, I have a really good relationship with them. They are good children, very respectful, very humble.
This conversation has been easily edited for length and clarity.
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