The best day of my life was February 1, 2015, when I attended Super Bowl 49 and watched the Patriots win the Cup that we needed them to win all along. Tom Brady became the greatest quarterback of all time with his 4th quarter performance for the ages, going 13 of 15 including 8 of 8 on the final drive where he beat the best defense in football since possibly the 1985 Bears.
Sometime later that week, I realized that I would never want Tom Brady to leave the Patriots, even if he was genuinely worse than Jimmy Garoppolo or whoever else could possibly take Tommy Boy’s spot.
I thought that Brady was the only athlete of my life on that level. After all, i liked and fully supported Danny Ainge trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for 3 spare part players, 3 1st round picks, an awesome pick swap, and approximately 25% of Brooklyn and the record deal rights to Jay-Z’s next album. I love Chara and Bergeron, but if the time came to trade them to help the Bruins become a Cup contender again, I’d support it, just like I supported the trade of Ray Bourque, my favorite hockey player ever. (To be fair, that trade was partly to get Ray the Cup that he had no chance of getting in Boston.)
I also thought that David Ortiz wasn’t on that list. Ortiz didn’t begin his career with the Sox, and there were multiple times where we thought his career her might be over, so the idea of him leaving has already entered our minds, which made it a little easier to prepare for if and when that day came. And, if we’re being honest, Ortiz has been a little too defensive at times with fans’ criticism of him when he’s not playing well, which generally also makes it easier to see a guy go. By comparison, the only time I can ever remember Brady criticize someone locally is when he called out the fans after opening Day 2010 when the fans left a blowout against the Bengals early, which he was clearly right about.
But then, this week, Ortiz shot down rumors that he might accept a trade to a contender, And I found myself so relieved — way more than I thought I’d be. A contender could obviously use Ortiz, too, maybe a contender with a lot of young guys who need leadership and a veteran presence who could hit anyone in the playoffs just because he’s that clutch. I bet the Kansas City Royals would have liked him against Bumgarner last season, even if he’s not good anymore at lefty-lefty matchups, just because he’s so good in October. Someone would pay a good price for Ortiz.
But apparently that doesn’t matter to me. Ortiz is at that level with Brady, and I didn’t even know it until this week when I had to consider him leaving for the first time since that epic 2013 season he had, from his famous words on April 20 though his World Series MVP trophy. To be fair, maybe part of my desire to keep him is because there’s no way that he could fetch a Pierce – Garnett return, but either way, I don’t want him gone.
I’m one of the most cutthroat fans there is — winning is everything. After all, I’ve rooted for Bill Belichick for the past 15 years. But Brady and Ortiz are where my ruthless sports fandom meets its match with my emotions. And, considering the way that I am about Boston sports, maybe that’s the best compliment that David Ortiz could get from me in terms of what he means to this city.