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    &x27This Is Our F-king City&x27: The Oral History | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

    “this is our fucking city.”

    Take a trip to boston and you’ll find that even five years later, those five words are inescapable. around town they’ve become everything from a rallying cry to a t-shirt sold at fenway after red sox games to something yelled in a boston college dorm after beating someone in the fifa They have been forever intertwined with one of the region’s greatest sports legends: David Ortiz.

    Reading: David ortiz this is our f city

    ortiz had already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in red sox history. But that speech took the legend of Big Papi to another level, that of a city icon, with no disclaimer that he is an athlete.

    “It’s right on top of the defining moments that establish David as the most important player in our history,” says Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy. “I say that with all due respect to all the other great players, Hall of Famers, other perhaps more talented baseball players, whether you’re talking about Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski. The list goes on and on. What he did around town that day helped lift our spirits when we needed it most.”

    all it took was five words.

    marathon Monday, April 15, 2013

    It had already been a particularly good marathon Monday, with Mike Napoli’s brace against the Green Monster to secure the Red Sox victory after an 11:05am start. m. the game ended at 2:10 p.m. m., and with a scheduled road trip to cleveland, the red sox hopped on the bus heading to logan international airport. They had started the season without Ortiz, who was still recovering at triple-A Pawtucket in Rhode Island from an Achilles tendon injury that ended his 2012 season.

    charles steinberg (former senior adviser to president larry lucchino, current president of the pawtucket red sox): Monday, April 15, 2013, was an extraordinarily beautiful day. You don’t know what you’re going to get on Patriots Day in Boston. has the full range of weather options. this day was particularly beautiful.

    kennedy (former red sox coo, current red sox president and CEO): It’s like a national holiday in boston that we celebrate. It’s my favorite day of the year since middle school and high school. you would always try to go to the red sox game if you could find the ticket and then go out and enjoy the marathon.

    Shane Victorino (Red Sox outfielder, 2013-2015): You don’t base a schedule on another event. …no, in this situation, it’s the city of boston. is the marathon. it’s bigger than the red sox.

    at 2:49 p.m. m., just 39 minutes after the Red Sox’s 3-2 win, the first bomb exploded at the finish line. twelve seconds later, the second went off. the terrorist attack killed three and injured at least 264, including 17 people who lost limbs.

    jonny gomes (red sox outfielder, 2013-2014): we actually thought, when we were in the clubhouse, a transformer blew up, loud bang, nothing to worry about. but then when we got on the bus, which wasn’t long after, obviously social media and then graphic images started to appear, and it was done very, very quickly.

    Ortiz (Red Sox DH, 2003-2016): I was getting ready to play for pawtucket, and all of a sudden, something crazy happened. when you see people fall like that, it was like, what the hell is going on? Who the hell would come up with ideas to hurt people while he’s trying to raise money to help people?

    gomes: we are going to the airport. we are being passed on the other side of these fleet after fleet of fire trucks, police cars, ambulances going into the city. that was probably the most disturbing feeling of, s-t is happening here.

    jack mccormick (longtime red sox traveling secretary): it took us about 45 minutes, an hour, to get out of there because they had ground control in logan that day, thinking someone could try to escape through the airport.

    boston strong, Tuesday April 16, 2013

    The Red Sox arrive in Cleveland, where they host a team dinner. Twenty-three of the 25 players attend, more than on a typical road trip. at 6:33 a.m. m. The day after the bombings, Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks tweets: “I can’t wait to put my jersey on today… I’m playing for the strongest city there is. #bostonstrong.” the hashtag immediately becomes the rallying cry of the city.

    will middlebrooks (red sox third baseman, 2012-2014): As for the #bostonstrong tweet, athletes in boston have a platform. Whether they like you, love you, or despise you, they read, listen, take in every bit of what you say. I had no intention of thinking of something that could grab attention like that. I just tweeted it from my heart, something I really felt.

    gomes: boston strong was gaining strength. we thought we should put it on a t-shirt and put 617, boston’s area code, under it. tommy [mclaughlin], our clubhouse guy, just took it and ran with it. Before long, he had that jersey sewn up and ready to rock.

    victorino: wear the boston strong posted everywhere on social media. it became the clause or the hashtag that held that city together.

    Back home, Ortiz continued his rehab as Boston locked itself in search of the attackers.

    ortiz: It was my first year starting in the dl. the team was away. I was home and rehabbing with the triple-a team in pawtucket. it all fell apart when the team was away and I was home.

    kennedy: the streets were literally empty because we weren’t supposed to be on the roads. fenway is such an important and high-profile landmark. charlie cellucci, the head of security, was at 4 yawkey way. she was standing there with her gun, not drawn, but in a belt clip. she was defending the stadium with the rest of our guards.

    The Red Sox returned from Cleveland on Friday morning, scheduled to play Kansas City royalty that night.

    john carter (red sox director of productions): as we try to prepare for how we’re going to honor, at that time, the three victims, the fatalities and obviously the hundreds more who were injured, we started thinking about how we could do that.

    lucchino (former president of the red sox, current president of the pawtucket red sox): We had no doubt that we should do it because there was a lot of public interest in the spirit and the connection that there was to be encouraged, celebrated, appreciated.

    The Red Sox canceled their game Friday against Kansas City royalty as the manhunt continued.

    Lorenzo Cain (Kansas City Royals center fielder, 2011-2017): Team was on lockdown, players were told not to leave hotel rooms. we just ordered a bunch of room service.

    eric hosmer (first baseman for the kansas city royals, 2011-2017): the hotel was surrounded by media trucks, military trucks. I remember getting in an elevator with Anderson Cooper. you just realized how crazy that was. the president came the next day. …it was a long couple of days.

    kennedy: we had updates every day from the city council, the mayor [thomas] menino himself directly. we were just watching how it all unfolded. the mayor really wanted us to play on friday the 19th. we said we would try to do it but there was a shelter in place ordinance in place and no one was allowed to leave his house. the mayor was very angry that we couldn’t play on Friday.

    steinberg: at 6 pm. On or about Friday, the police and state and city officials tell us to go back to our lives, which isn’t much consolation because they haven’t found anyone on the loose, and tomorrow we’re going to have a ball game. afternoon. Larry Lucchino called me. I said, “I’m not excited about this.” the thought of 35,000 people coming to your house for lunch when a killer is on the loose is disturbing.

    at 8:42 p.m. m., boston police arrested the second terrorist, who was hiding inside a boat in watertown, a suburb.

    lucchino: I remember I was talking to a friend, a former CEO of an nba team. she went to the opening day and she thought our ceremony was wonderful, but she gave us a minus. “Why is that?” I asked. “Because you didn’t really get a player talking. There’s something important in that.” I had that in the back of my mind after opening day.

    before the game

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    With the manhunt over, the Red Sox were scheduled to play at 1:10 p.m. game against kansas city royalty on saturday april 20th.

    dave o’brien (former red sox radio host, current red sox television host): It was so unsettling going to the ballpark that day because there was still so much fear and persistent anxiety in the city. … everyone who entered fenway park that day – a player, an announcer, an usher – felt the same sense of anxiety.

    sarah mckenna (red sox vice president of entertainment and fan services): The ceremony was coming together quickly. I ran to the front desk and they said, “neil diamond is on the phone.” we had no idea it was coming. … said, “We felt like we had to be here,” after ballparks across the country sang “Sweet Carolina” in the eighth inning as a tribute to Boston. It was 10 minutes before the pregame ceremony started, and that was the first time we knew he was in Boston.

    ed davis (boston police commissioner, 2006-2013): both the mayor and the governor as well as the state police and the fbi, we had been in the trenches until a few hours before. It was the first opportunity we had to take a breath and talk to each other. there was a cathartic feeling. it’s over.

    carter: I’m rarely nervous at work. but I was nervous that day because I knew all eyes were on us. I pray that our sound system works and the microphone, which is a wireless microphone, does not cut out. I pray we don’t have any technical issues in the control room with the video.

    steve buckley (sports columnist, boston herald): The little things stood out to me: the fact that the Red Sox that Saturday wore home uniforms that had the word boston printed on the front. of red stockings. It was like that day, while we’re the Red Sox, we’re also Boston.

    davis: The police were invited, and I can remember standing there on the field in shock. For us, we realized how serious the situation was, but I don’t think we realized the magnitude of what was happening in terms of the media and the community. we were so committed to the chase and making sure we caught these guys. It took us a day or two to understand the effect it had on the country. I started to take it in while he was on the ball field.

    steinberg: how do you go from that to playing baseball? it’s an emotional leap. That’s when I said, “We need an elbow. We need a transition. We need something to get us out of the gravity of this ceremony that somehow gets the fans ready to play baseball.” that’s when the idea of ​​having david ortiz as the punctuation mark came up.

    mckenna – The moment we thought David would be there for that game, we knew it had to be him.

    ortiz: I was one of the guys who was on the team the longest. therefore, it was like the army. the longest term you have, you’re the one who gets things done. I was the general of the baseball club because I was there the longest. In the middle of the ceremony, I was asked to say something to the fans.

    gomes: I didn’t know I was going to speak. once you step inside the red sox uniform, you realize the magnitude of this man, david ortiz. the outside looking in, he is another athlete you are playing against. but when you walk into the clubhouse, this guy just grabs the wheel and tells everyone to get on the bus he’s driving.

    ortiz: I wanted the whole town to feel that this was not the only thing we wanted to prevent us from being who we are. these people wanted to put an end to what we loved to do. this is the kind of thing that gets into your head and all of a sudden you don’t want to go to a restaurant or the hallway. they want you to stay in your house so that the whole city stops working. I wanted to make sure people moved on and show all these bastards that this wasn’t how we did it.

    mckenna: I asked him to say a few words. David has a knack for connecting with people that a lot of people don’t recognize. he really feels connected to the city. we felt that we needed something and that someone needed to say something. everything came together.

    ortiz: I was by the bench when he asked me about it. walking to the mound in the field, I thought of everything.

    the speech

    Wearing sunglasses, a microphone in hand and an American flag flying over the green monster behind him, Ortiz walked onto the field to address the crowd of 35,152.

    it’s alright, it’s alright, boston.

    this shirt we wear today.

    doesn’t say red socks. says boston.

    We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor [Deval] Patrick and the entire Police Department for the great job you did last week.

    This is our fucking city and no one will dictate our freedom.

    stay strong. thanks.

    gomes: everyone was like, “did he just say f-k? He didn’t say f-k. I swear he just said f-k.” so it was kind of a wow factor there for a second.

    ortiz: Drop the f-bomb, I didn’t even realize I did it.

    chad finn (sportscaster, boston globe): There’s a brief split second where the crowd was like, did he just drop a bomb? and then you have 37,000 people who immediately approve.

    ortiz: I was angry, man.

    davis: It was difficult for us to listen. the acoustics were a bit strange. there was an echo. I turned to my friend. “Did he just say what I think he said?”

    Ortiz: The last thing I thought was that I was on national television.

    o’brien: What he said surprised everyone in the broadcast booth. when the words left david’s mouth, we were in the air like many other people. I remember the royal announcer from kansas city came running up to our booth and said, “are you allowed to say that?” I said, “david is”.

    mccormick: I said, “oops, you can’t filter that.” spontaneity is a bitch. she let him go and there was no way to get him back.

    ortiz: When I left the field, I didn’t know what I had done. I was looking at the governor. he was looking at the mayor of the city. the head of the police department. everyone applauded and gave a high five. I was like, “what did I just say?” they were so happy and like “yeah!”

    lucchino: i remembered that when i suggested that david ortiz talk to sarah mckenna, she said, “larry, if it gets to david, the chances of him dropping a bomb are 100 percent. “

    mckenna: A lot of times, people focus on the fact that he used the f-word, but he also made this powerful statement that no one was going to dictate our freedom. We gave him some indications, but the phrase that nobody dictates our freedom, that was all of him.

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    ortiz: sometimes people say things and don’t know where they come from.

    hosmer: It opened us to all the eyes that, as baseball players, our voices can transmit. …showed everyone how baseball and a guy like david can bring everyone together. with both teams standing on the lines in full support of what happened, it just showed how we all came together and came together as a country.

    marty walsh (mayor of boston, 2014-present) – put the bet on the ground that this is our fucking city. that we are boston strong. that we get together that we are united.

    o’brien: this is how david speaks. that’s how new england speaks.

    julius genachowski (former chairman of the federal communications commission, current managing director of the carlyle group): the fcc has an official twitter feed, usually used for dry updates. i thought i should send out a tweet indicating our support for big papi and just clarify where we stand. we wanted the attention to be in the right place.

    ortiz: I wasn’t seeing this as, I’m david ortiz and I play for the red sox. …I guarantee that if you were to pull someone out of the stands to say something, they would say something more powerful than what I said.

    buckley: I’ve had a few run-ins with david ortiz over the years, but the next time I saw him on the bench, I walked up to him and said, “david, I’d love to shake your hand and thank you for what you said that day. That’s how wrapped up I stayed in it. if that was some kind of breach of professional ethics, then screw him. that’s how i felt. I needed to shake hands.

    steinberg: You smile because he not only embodied the emotions of the community, but he was such a valid father figure in doing so. Isn’t it ironic that his nickname is big daddy?

    Gordon Edes (former espn.com red sox beat writer, current red sox team historian): At that point, he really became a father. and the father who offered words of comfort, words of support, and finally words of defense.

    In the weeks that followed, those five words were plastered on every t-shirt in the boston area. they would instantly become iconic. Multiple viewers across the country (warning: link contains profanity) have filed complaints with the FCC about Ortiz’s language on television.

    genachowski: I was paying attention, because this was Boston, and while I’m primarily a Washington Nationals fan, the Boston Red Sox are my American League team. I knew there would be people who would see that I had used the f-word on the airwaves and ask me, “oh, that’s a violation of the fcc rule, and is the fcc going to punish him?” My first thought was, there’s no way we’re going to punish this.

    ortiz: the fcc came to the field with his whole family. he wanted to meet me, and I was like, oh s-t. I’m in trouble.

    genachowski: we met big daddy on the bench.

    ortiz: it was like, “look, you said something that moved this city forward. it took the fear out of people. you have no idea what you just said. that’s going to be in new england history forever. it was just when we needed it. don’t worry. we needed that bomb.”

    genachowski: asked grand daddy to sign a baseball, and he texted julius: fucking awesome.

    Most didn’t expect the Red Sox to contend for the division, let alone the World Series, that year. as the season progressed, the team held on to first place and championship aspirations sprouted.

    gomes: when the bruins lost the stanley cup, we felt this big push fall on our shoulders because we saw what it was going to do for the city. … the whole weight of the city was put on our shoulders.”

    Napoli (Red Sox first baseman, 2013-2015): We live it. we were there To begin with, we were a very tight-knit group. going to hospitals, seeing people and being there through all of that, brought us closer together as a group.

    middlebrooks: It was our goal from the first day of spring training to win the world series. but there was an extra meaning now. nothing would stop us.

    Nearly six months later, Ortiz hit a game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, helping propel the team to the World Series. The Red Sox clinched the title in six games over the St. cardinal louis. Ortiz hit .688 and earned the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.

    gomes: have the opportunity to place the world series trophy at the finish line, a few feet from where the bomb was detonated, place the trophy on the asphalt and place the boston jersey strong on him, it felt iconic.

    legacy

    After the 2016 season, Ortiz retired from baseball. In September 2016, the city of Boston changed the name of the bridge connecting Kenmore Square to Fenway Park to “Big Papi Bridge”. In June 2017, the Red Sox named a road “David Ortiz Drive” and retired their No. 34.

    finn: for me, the day that david ortiz showed up in boston is the most important day in the history of the red sox. There has never been a more charismatic athlete in Boston, including Larry Bird and Pedro Martinez. David Ortiz is the guy that changed everything. he’s the guy who did what ted williams couldn’t do, what yaz couldn’t do, what jim rice couldn’t do. he’s the guy who got the big hits when the red sox needed the big hit.

    o’brien: funny thing is he didn’t do it with a bat right now. he didn’t do it with a key hit or a dramatic at-bat. he did it with his voice.

    dan shaughnessy (sports columnist, boston globe): in boston folklore, those are the words you’ll be remembered by. it was the magnitude of the moment, the spontaneity and the way it unfolded. it played with what people wanted to hear at the time. he was also trapped at the time. this guy said “f-k”, and everyone, the fcc, was okay with that. that’s how he was david.

    o’brien: david did so many things that defy rationality. this is one of those moments that you expected, and actually exceeded. It was like that throughout his career. this was just another pivotal moment when you think about it.

    ortiz: I had a really amazing career, but what stood out to me wasn’t all the home runs, all the hits, and all the plays in the world series that changed the game. I can’t imagine myself alone in that. That’s what I think the most. I hit home runs and did what I did on the field and entertained people. Those moments will always be there, but what goes beyond that is what moved me the most. New England is my second home.

    kennedy: I’d say it’s a good bet he’ll get a statue. I was at an event with him and I said, “David, we named a street after you. We named a bridge after you. We’ve given you a lifetime contract. Is there anything else we can do for you?” The river. “I’ll think of something. Don’t worry about it.”

    walsh: your statue should be that moment. That fist represented something bigger than the Boston Red Sox and something bigger than baseball. that fist represented humanity, and that made a big difference. when he walked off the field that day, he didn’t walk like a baseball player. he was leaving like a bostonian.

    kennedy: the speech will be the moment immortalized. David Ortiz means a lot more to this franchise than carrying the team on his back to win three World Series titles. … the speech was the turning point in his career. …said what many of us were feeling. and he got away with it because he was big daddy.

    b/r writer scott miller contributed to this report.

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