Comerica also seemed to conjure memories of the All-Star Game, now an unbelievable half-decade ago, that saw Papi launching long balls with ease -- for fun -- over the vast outfield in Detroit.
A year later, in the midst of his 51-homer 2006, that year where Papi would end up the one bright spot in an otherwise injury-riddled and disappointing season, I wrote:
Papi didn't have the most home runs in the first round of the Derby, but Holy God, if they were giving out an award for the prettiest, he'd have it hands down, on any number of his ten moon shots, most of them over everything. This just after they trotted out a physics professor to talk about how the best way to put a ball in the river just outside the park was to pull it into the little notch just on the fair side of the pole in right--Ortiz put several into the river, notch be damned.
Probably my favorite was the one to dead center that still went over everything, including the ESPN bozos chattering away in their booth.
That sound off Ortiz's bat--that ringing, meaty THWACK--and the way the ball goes tailing off into orbit while he stands and watches, a great dark figure under the stadium lights...there's something so sublime about David Ortiz, his happiness, his booming power, his unfailing interior light. People talk (at least half-jokingly) about Albert Pujols being divine, but I think that if God chose to incarnate himself as ballplayer, it's a pretty safe bet he'd be this one.
This is why the Sox once made up a batting title for Papi -- the Most Clutch Hitter of All Time. It ultimately means nothing, at least from a mathematical point of view. But it conveys the sense we've always had that there's something exceptional about Ortiz, whether he'll be a Hall of Famer or not. Over the last two seasons it's been easy to forget the fearsome figure he once cut at the plate -- last night it was easier to remember.
It almost exasperated me, listening to Jerry Remy's incredulity at the spot in the stands where Papi's 450-foot blast had landed, and later, watching him trot the bases, almost chagrined, after crushing another one over the fence. After all this pain and struggle, and acceptance that maybe Papi's time in the sun is over, he goes popping off like that again, leaving us to cling to potentially false hope for another little while. One game -- even a two-homer game, even if those homers are gargantuan -- does not mean Papi's Back. But it's safe to say he once again has my attention.
And if anybody should've accompanied Papi in going yard last night, it was the man who so eloquently stuck up for him with the now-immortal "laser show" comment, his opposite in stature but equal in uncanny power, Dustin Pedroia.
I thought about going and checking out just what Detroit's record is so far this season, and it was made clear from the broadcast booth that last night's Tigers starter, Max Scherzer, is far from a Cy Young contender, but for now I'm not looking a feel-good game in the mouth.
P.S. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but hopefully I'll be getting back to the blog more this week.