by Dave Daly
Who’s your favorite baseball player? I’m not just talking about the Rubber Ducks. You can choose from anyone that has or is currently playing in the majors or minors, whether they’re alive or otherwise. My choice is an easy one: David Ortiz.
Ortiz, affectionately nicknamed Big Papi, spent 14 seasons on the Red Sox and has always been a fan favorite. Never forget, I’m a Masshole. For me, Big Papi cemented his lore early in the 2013 baseball season. It was the first home game since the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. Ortiz, a bona fide baseball superstar at this point, was asked to rally the crowd and television audience with a few words before the game. They brought tears to my eyes. Even thinking about them gets me all emotional.
Know this. Ortiz gave a simple, short speech in which he stated “This is our F****** City and ain’t nobody gonna dictate our freedom.” Cheers erupted. The FCC declared there would be no fines. He thanked Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick and the Boston Police Department. He was able to unite a city, entire region and beyond for at least a brief moment in time.
He also happens to be an immigrant.
That’s right. Big Papi was born and raised in the Dominican Republic along with many other current, past and future ball players. In fact the Rubber Ducks very own Dorssys Paulino is also a DR native. Nearly 30 percent of major leaguers are immigrants. Many international players spend time on minor league teams. Akron is no exception.
We have a diverse roster and that should be a point of pride. Players from the states come from all over. Outfielder Ka’ai Tom grew up in Hawaii. First baseman Bobby Bradley hales from Mississippi. Third baseman Joe Sever comes by way of California. No hometown heroes yet, but maybe Bronny Jr. will make a dramatic sports switch and start playing baseball! He could be a Duck in, say five years?
Players abound from outside the U.S. too. Catcher Sicnarf Loopstok, possibly the best name ever, is Aruban. Pitcher Keiran Lovegrove is South African. Argenis Angulo, also a pitcher, is Venezuelan. Shortstop Yu Chang, former Duck and current Columbus Clipper, is Taiwanese. Professional baseball draws players from countries far and wide.
What am I getting at? I love baseball. I love humans from around the world. Borders hinder progress. Akron is a cool city with a diverse population. We have a great baseball team that represents our country and beyond. Celebrate differences. Be tolerant. I will.
Anyways, get your pedal pushers, tank tops and flip-flops on. It’s summer at the ballpark! Go sit in the sun on a hot day and sweat it out. Ponder how overheated the players are in their uniforms. Are they cotton? Decide between a hotdog, hamburger or something gluttonous over at The Game Restaurant & Bar attached to the park. I’m vegetarian and know how to cook so I’ll eat beforehand and spend my hard earned money on a beverage or two.
So Akron, this is our f****** city. All of ours.
Yours in Baseball,
Akron Rubber Ducks July Homestands
Thursday 7/12 through Sunday 7/15; Thursday 7/19 – Wednesday 7/25;
Tuesday 7/31 – Thursday 8/2
300 S. Main Street, Akron, OH 44308
For more information on dates, times and tickets visit akronrubberducks.com
Dave Daly is working on it.