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David Ortiz

The MLB Postseason means two things: Exciting baseball, and David Ortiz back on TV. The Red Sox legend can be found on Fox, notably joking with former on-field rival Alex Rodriguez. With the Yankees one game away from meeting the Red Sox in the ALDS, their pranks could be at the forefront of Fox's coverage. Whether the Yankees win the AL Wild Card Game, Jennifer Lopez will be popping in to say hi to Big Papi. Ortiz recently spoke to ThePostGame in New York, on behalf of Sheraton.

ThePostGame: You're working with Sheraton. What you doing with them?
DAVID ORTIZ: I joined Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. We started doing some things in Boston with fans, showing them around and doing a whole bunch of different things. The most important thing, every major league city, wherever there's an MLB team, there's a Sheraton Hotel there, so people can go to any of those cities and staying at a Sheraton. We're doing a bunch of different things so people get to know what's going on.
TPG: When you were playing, when you were traveling around and staying in hotels, what was your favorite MLB city to travel to?
ORTIZ: New York was one of them, to be honest with you. Chicago. And I got to also say LA.
TPG: So the big cities right there. You said you liked New York. Is that because you liked people heckling you or you just liked the city?
ORTIZ: [Laughs] You know what, when people were bullying me, I loved it because it would get the best out of me, so, at some point, I think they were like, "OK, let's stop bullying this guy." [More laughs] But I love the city. I'm from the Dominican Republic, so a big part of the population is from the Dominican, so I know a lot of people, I have friends from back there. It always was good to come to New York.
TPG: Yeah, I was gonna say that the Dominican population is so huge here. Obviously, you got Manny [Ramirez], who grew up in Washington Heights. Before you were on the Red Sox, growing up, I know the Yankees are hugely popular in the Dominican Republic. Did you like the Yankees and how did the Dominicans embrace you when you come to town wearing a Red Sox hat?
ORTIZ: Of course. I mean, growing up in the Dominican Republic, the Yankees were one of the favorites. I remember, my very first [piece of] memorabilia was a baseball bat signed by Don Mattingly, so growing up in the Dominican, it was basically you came to be a Yankees fan. You know what I'm saying? Automatically. A guy like me, Pedro [Martinez] and Manny kind of changed the culture a little bit down there once we were all playing for the Red Sox. But it's always the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Cardinals have been some of the favorite teams down there.
TPG: When you met Don Mattingly, finally, were you star-struck by him?
ORTIZ: Oh yeah. I even told him the story about my very first [piece of] memorabilia and he remembered because he gave the bat to a guy who used to work in a restaurant that he used to go to eat, so he knew exactly what I was talking about when I first talked to him about it.
TPG: What was the restaurant called?
ORTIZ: I can't remember. I really can't, but it was a restaurant that a Dominican guy, a friend of my dad's, used to work at [in New York], and Don Mattingly was one of my father's favorite players.

David Ortiz, Fox Sports

TPG: In terms of baseball this year, you're going to be back on TV talking about it during the playoffs. You have so much free time on your hands, how much baseball did you watch this year?
ORTIZ: Actually, I don't. I'm always working. I'm always doing things here and there, but when I'm at home, I watch a lot of the games. I still work for the Red Sox, so I'm involved with what's going on with the organization and I know what's going on with the guys, with the whole team.
TPG: That team this year, I'm sure you thought your teams were great. How does this team compare to the best teams that you had back in the day? And by "back in the day," I mean just a few years ago.
ORTIZ: Yeah, it's a really good team. A lot of offense, good defense, good pitching. This season has been amazing, incredible. Just sitting down and watching them play, it's like expecting a win before the game even starts. That's how they're rolling right now, you know what I'm saying? Hopefully, that carries over into the playoffs.
TPG: Guys like [Mookie] Betts, [Xander] Bogaerts, [Andrew] Benintendi, you kind of saw them coming up a little bit, maybe in Spring Training, a little bit in the majors. Did you see a glimpse of just how good these guys were going to be when they were rookies?
ORTIZ: Yeah, there was a sickness the minute they walked into the league, you know? The more experience they got, the more they were gonna be these types of players. I'm not surprised by what I'm seeing from them right now.
TPG: Does it feel weird that J.D. Martinez is in your DH spot and he's doing everything he's doing this year?
ORTIZ: Actually, nah. J.D. has been one of the elite hitters in the league the past four or five years, so what he's doing right now is not surprising.
TPG: You mention how busy you are. Other than baseball, what were some things you were doing this year?
ORTIZ: Traveling a lot, you know, working different companies, I have my own line of wine and cigars [Arias Wine and Big Papi Cigars]. There's basically a lot of places to promote the product, and I'm all over the place, man. I'm living in Miami now for the past year and a half and when I'm down here, you know, I used to take the family up. One of my boys, he loves baseball, and I'm trying to help him out.
TPG: How old is he?
ORTIZ: 14.
TPG: How do you take on that role? Are you coaching him or are you letting the coaches work and then just talking to him after?
ORTIZ: Yeah, we do both. Basically, I let the coaches do their thing and then I hop in once in a while because my mentality when it comes down to baseball, for him, I can feed him a little bit of things now, but the real deal is he can be a pro, the way he needs to approach things, so that's when I really come in and share my experiences with him.
TPG: Is he a big power hitter like you?
ORTIZ: He's a big boy!
TPG: Is he playing the field right now or is he just pure DH?
ORTIZ: No, he's playing first base and third base, pretty good defensively.
TPG: You signed when you were 17 years old with the Mariners. He’s 14. Some international players signed as young as 14. Do you think about that, and are you glad that he'll have some time to maybe play college or stuff growing up here in the U.S.?
ORTIZ: We'll see how that plays out. Right now, with guys in the big leagues are coming up at 19, 20 years old. It's a different time, different era. It all depends how fast you progress. My kids, they are American citizens, born and raised here. It all depends how fast he moves his ability. If I feel like I would like him to sign at the same age I signed, it's not gonna up to me. But the most important thing, you know, everybody's looking forward to getting to the big leagues at an early age, so you can have a career before you get to be 32, 33, you know what I'm saying? You have 10 years in the league, doing your thing, so we'll see how it plays out, no rush.

TPG: Now, a guy who grew up in Miami was Alex Rodriguez, who kind of crushed that high school scene. You guys will be back together on the desk soon. It seems like you have all this great Yankees-Red Sox, old chemistry. I don’t know if you can share some of the ways you’re going to prank him this year, but are you excited just to get back, especially because we might have a Red Sox-Yankees series in the ALDS?
ORTIZ: I know, they're matched up early this year, earlier than ever, so, yeah, me and A-Rod, we have good chemistry going on on the show, especially when he brings J-Lo around, you know? [Laughs] That's my girl, man. I mean, she's cool as hell, so we have a lot of fun and A-Rod's pretty good at what he does. Last year, basically, was my second year on set, and the first time I did it, A-Rod wasn’t there, but A-Rod was there for a couple of years before I joined and he's very professional, man. He's very serious about what he does. And I'm glad to be part of it.
TPG: Did you know J-Lo before he started bringing her around or was he bringing her around the set and all of a sudden you're star-struck trying to do these reports after games last year?
ORTIZ: I met her before. I met her before when she was dating my boy, Ben Affleck. That’s when I first met her.
TPG: A Red Sox fan ...
ORTIZ: Yup. She might be a fan of New York and Boston at the same time! [Laughs]
TPG: If that series comes around, are you nervous on the Red Sox side playing against a team which, even though in the standings has been so far below you, has seen all those pitchers through a few times?
ORTIZ: Well, nervous? Probably not. But the Yankees, they have been playing well against the Red Sox. They've been going back and forth, so you never know what can pop out of it.
TPG: One other Boston guy -- not Ben Affleck -- but Tom Brady, one of your fellow elders in Boston, the Patriots are struggling right now. They're 1-2 (at the time of this interview). I don’t know if you've been watching, but what does Tom need to do to right those troops there with the Patriots?
ORTIZ: Well, Tom got so used to winning pretty much every game that when I hear people saying that they are struggling, I'm like, "Hold on, how many games have they played?" You know what I’m saying? Or something like that because you know that this guy's capable of bouncing back and not losing any other game from now on. That’s how good and how professional he is, so I'm expecting the Patriots to bounce back and do what they got us used to, and I'm wishing my boy, Brady, the best.
TPG: Do you watch football and think you could have played?
Ortiz: I probably could! I'm bad-ass man. [Laughs]

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