Bronx, NY: Yesterday there were approximately thirty-eight thousand visitors to Cooperstown, NY for the class of 2022 Induction Ceremony for Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva and David “Big Papi” Ortiz. It was a glorious moment for these individuals as only one percent of all the thousands of baseball players that have played the game have gained entrance into the uppermost shrine of baseball, the Hall of Fame.
Latino Sports had a bus leaving from the Bronx to Cooperstown, NY. Every year that a Latino has gotten inducted since Orlando Cepeda back in 1999 we have provided a bus so that many people from the South Bronx could attend. The trip to Cooperstown by car in good traffic is approximately three- and one-half hours. That alone would limit the number of people that might want to go but might not have a car. Those that do has transportation might not want to drive seven hours in one day. Therefore, the Latino Sports bus has been a fair and affordable alternative for many in the South Bronx to witness a bit of baseball history.
Yesterday’s induction ceremony was quite different from others that we have attended. The main reason was “BIG PAPI”. We knew something was different as our bus is always on 150th St and the Grand Concourse and in in the past years we were the only bus, or busses (when we have had more than one) going to Cooperstown. However yesterday, just one block up by Franz Siegal Park there were two other coach busses, and they too were heading up to Cooperstown, NY. Apparently, this induction ceremony had the feeling that it was going to be a David “Big Papi” Ortíz event. That was not a surprise as David has won the hearts and minds of many fans from all over. David is one of those players that they say in my hood, “He keeps it real.” As such the Big Papi fan base goes way beyond Boston, MA.
There was no clearer example of than yesterday when there were approximately ten times the population of Cooperstown visiting. Cooperstown has a population of approximately two thousand people and yesterday’s thirty-eight thousand plus were in great majority there for David Ortiz. Just recently, in the All-Star weekend one announcer was surprised at the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game when he noted the increase of the young fan base attending the event. He was told by his colleague, “the majority of those in attendance did not come here for the celebrity game, they came here to see Bad Bunny.” Well yesterday, with all due respect to all the other inductees, I would attest that the majority of those in attendance were there for David “Big Papi” Ortíz.
To his credit, Ortíz did not disappoint. He was the last to be presented and rightfully so as anything else would have been anti-climactic. Ortíz made one of the best presentations that I have heard from many of those that I have had the pleasure of witnessing throughout the years. As David has been known to do, he spoke from the heart. I don’t believe there was one coach, friend, ally, trainer, agent, family member, MLB, Boston Red Sox, Mariners, Twins officials and fellow players that he did not mention. He thanked everyone and especially the fans for helping him throughout his career. He became emotional when speaking about his parents and his mother. His long presentation was tolerable in the heat and threat of a thunderstorm approaching that was already blowing aways some tarps and tents. However, the baseball Gods were also there with David as the storm did not arrive at the time expected, but after the entire HOF event was over. How’s that for a closing to the David “Big Papi” Ortíz induction ceremony?
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