Entertainment

Fans of David Ortiz Celebrated The Baseball Legends Return To Fenway Park

From the moment that David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic in early June, his extended family, the Boston Red Sox, have been by his side to provide Big Papi and those close to him with “all available resources” that they may need.

After Ortiz had undergone surgery to have his gallbladder and parts of his intestines removed, the Red Sox sent a medical flight to the Dominican Republic to have him transferred to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital for further treatment. Big Papi was released in late July following a third surgery. 

David Ortiz surprised his fans at Boston’s Fenway Park as he threw the game’s first pitch.

It has been a long road to recovery, but on Monday, Ortiz made a surprise return to Fenway Park to see his extended family in person, throw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former Red Sox teammate Jason Varitek, and deliver a message to his fans. 

“I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said to the crowd, per ESPN. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me. … They were the first ones there supporting me.”

“I want to thank you for all for your prayers, all of them came home,” Ortiz continued.

When he threw the pitch, his fans went wild.

Former Red Sox legend David Ortiz threw the first pitch Monday night at Boston’s Fenway Park in a game against the Yankees, marking his first public appearance since he was shot in the Dominican Republic in June.

The pitch, tossed to team captain Jason Varitek, prompted fans to go understandably wild. 

Ortiz also thanked his former teammates as well as the Yankees. 

“A lot of my boys over there came to check on Big Papi; I appreciate it,” he said, likely referencing Yankee players and fellow Dominicans Gary Sánchez and Edwin Encarnación, who visited Ortiz at his home last week.

All of Boston wanted Big Papi to know that they were there for him.

The Red Sox introduced Ortiz as a symbol of “resilience, strength, triumph and love,” and those words couldn’t be more true of someone who was able to experience a special day like today after fighting for his life with his family, country, and “fuckin’ city” all behind him.

Fans reacted on Twitter with absolute joy.

Fans from New York to Boston reveled in their excitement across social media. People were genuinely shocked to see David Ortiz on the field at Fenway Park throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

It was the sign that so many were waiting for: to know that Big Papi was on the road to recovery.

Even those who ‘detest’ the Red Sox took to Twitter to wish Big Papi well.

In a sign that Big Papi has fans all around the world, even those who claim to hate the Boston Red Sox took to social media to share in the excitement that one of baseball’s greats was back in the game.

David Ortiz had been recovering from a shooting in his native Dominican Republic.

Ortiz had been shot in the back at a bar while visiting his home country. Following the incident, doctors removed his gallbladder and a portion of his intestine, The Associated Press reported. He also sustained liver damage.

The player underwent three surgeries total after experiencing complications from the gunshot wounds, according to his wife, Tiffany Ortiz. In July, he was released from the hospital and started rehabilitation at home, according to the Red Sox. 

The attorney general of the Dominican Republic, Jean Alain Rodriguez, claimed the intended target of the shooting was the person Ortiz was seated next to, Sixto David Fernández. 

Veterans Hold ‘Veterans For Impeachment’ Sign Behind Home Plate During World Series Game

Entertainment

Veterans Hold ‘Veterans For Impeachment’ Sign Behind Home Plate During World Series Game

@abeaujon / @skolanach / Twitter

President Trump may have carved time out to watch the Houston Astros-Washington Nationals World Series game at Nationals Park, but he left early after a stadium of fans booed him. A banner that read “Impeach Trump” unfolded before his very eyes, and two sets of veterans held up two “Veterans for Impeachment” signs behind home plate.

Trump and Melania were joined in their Washington Suite by daughter Ivanka Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and others. Critics are also wondering why Trump didn’t elect to take his 12-year-old son to the World Series event.

When the boos first started, Trump reacts briefly by turning to his wife, Melania.

Credit: @skolanach / Twitter

Trump had inconspicuously arrived just after the first inning. The Game 5 World Series event was an apolitical American pastime medium of entertainment until the third inning, during the salute to veterans. The ballpark began streaming a segment for veterans on the big screen. Fans cheered in honor of veterans.

Then, the video panned over to Trump. The cheers dwindled and the boos and heckling could not be missed. Trump’s face falls for a moment as he turns over to Melania, who seems more advanced in maintaining a poker face.

For several minutes, Trump and his entourage white-knuckled their smiles while the crowd chanted, “Lock Him Up!” 

Credit: @skolanach / Twitter

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry for allegedly trading U.S. resources for Ukraine’s assistance in helping him win his 2020 campaign. Though Trump had announced hours earlier a victory against ISIS, this sold-out stadium of Americans was more concerned with his illegal attempt to use our tax dollars for his personal gain.

In fact, the Washington Post reports that Trump has “virtually never been seen in Washington outside the White House, his own hotel, and a handful of other highly controlled settings.” While Trump has happily allowed his supporters to chant, “Lock Her Up!,” in reference to Hillary Clinton, this may be the first time Trump has been in a crowd full of dissenters. It was a big crowd. Huge. 

Home plate seats that typically go for $10k were occupied by “Veterans for Impeachment” sign holders.

Credit: @abeaujon / Twitter

That means their message was aired on national television to 10.22 million viewers on television alone. The men holding the signs, Alan Pitts and Naveed Shah, are Iraq vets who volunteer with Common Defense, an entire organization of veterans against Trump. “It’s beyond time for Congress to do their job and uphold the oath they swore and Impeach this President,” Pitts later tweeted. “I’m proud of myself and @ArmyofNaveed for keeping our oath and ruining @realDonaldTrump trip to the game!! #VetsForImpeachment.”

Trump must have expected some negative reaction because he planned to skip the presidential tradition of throwing the first pitch.

Credit: @Clark408 / Twitter

Trump won just 4 percent of the popular vote in the District of Colombia, so it’s no surprise that the stadium would be packed with critics of Trump. That said, it was Trump’s idea to attend the game. While MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he and Trump discussed if he would like to throw the first pitch, as is the tradition for Presidents, Nationals owner Mark Lerner made it clear that he did not invite Trump to be honored with that ceremony.

Instead, the MLB chose José Andrés, a Spanish immigrant, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his work to aid Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Credit: @BillyBaldwin / Twitter

José Andrés is a world-famous chef and humanitarian, best known for creating a network that fed 2.2 million warm meals to Puerto Ricans in just forty days. Andrés has been an open critic of Trump, pulling out from a restaurant deal with the Trump International Hotel after Trump’s campaign announced its anti-immigration policy rooted in racist rhetoric. They were in a legal battle over the contract until 2017.

The MLB knew that Game 5 would be the only game Trump would attend. Andrés received a longer-than-usual, cheerful standing ovation.

Meanwhile, the entire Lerner family, owners of the Washington Nationals, actively tried to avoid interacting with Trump.

Credit: @KellyKenneally / Twitter

The Lerner family, who owns the Washington Nationals, requested Major League Baseball to protect the family from having to deny a request to sit with Trump, according to WUSA9. Instead, Trump sat in the Washington suite in Section 119.

Washington has spoken and spoken loudly.

Credit: @malz_agner / Twitter

Veterans organized their dissent. Fans hung an “Impeach Trump” sign along the rafters. A wealthy family refused to find common ground with Trump. The MLB strategically placed José Andrés and his message in front of a crowd who gave him a sustained standing ovation. Then, that same crowd spontaneously booed Trump, who left after the 10th inning. 

Still, FOX News’ report of the same negative press for Trump was limited to, “They were greeted with mixed reaction.”

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Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

Entertainment

Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

badbunnypr / marcanthony / Instagram

While it’s been two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the recovery efforts aren’t finishing anytime soon. Many people on the island are still trying to put their lives back together, which includes rebuilding homes, churches, and schools. What many might not know is the recovery efforts have also included revitalizing baseball fields on the island where Puerto Ricans once played. 

Among the destruction that both Hurricanes Irma and Maria left in 2017 is more than 300 small league baseball parks that were found inoperative. As a result, many community ball programs were essentially eliminated and youths on the island were essentially left in the dark without fields to play the sport.

Leading the revitalization efforts are Puerto Rico’s own two native sons: Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. The duo, along with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. community development non-profit, has teamed up for a new program called Play Ball Again. The purpose of the initiative will be to help rebuild some of those damaged baseball fields and facilitate local programming for 17,500 youth. It is expected that in total, about 300 facilities will be impacted by this initiative. 

The duo hopes the contributions play a huge role in bringing not only baseball back to the island but a place where people can escape from their worries. 

Credit: @laguerradelbsn / Twitter

The initiative is special to both of them not only because they’re helping youth but they hoping these recovery efforts go a long way in bringing back a sense of community. Maestro Cares Foundation, which Anthony owns, is putting money towards the program with a goal of restoring “normalcy” in Puerto Rico.

“Sports and recreation activities help restore a sense of normalcy, in the wake of disasters,” Anthony, who is among the program’s earliest supporters, said in a press release.” Baseball isn’t just a game in this context. It helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.”

Maestro Cares, along with the Good Bunny Foundation and UNICEF USA, will all be putting forth $300,000 of what LISC expects to be more than $1.6 million in baseball field renovations. Joining the efforts is Chicago Cubs second baseman Javi Baez with his Cubs Charities, which will donate an additional $100,000 in support. This also includes the Kohler Company, which made a donation to fund bathroom fixtures for onsite facilities.

“Two years after these devastating storms, the need to rebuild the island remains strong,” Báez, whose family is from the Bayamón area, said in a press release. “Cubs Charities understood the need and has stepped up to the plate to help restore baseball fields and give kids throughout Puerto Rico the opportunity to play the game. This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.”

The recovery efforts in Puerto Rico have been long and tiresome but the fuel behind the revitalization has always been the people. 

 Credit: UNICEF / MAESTRO CARES

While time may have passed, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to get back on their feet. For Bad Bunny, he knows firsthand the power that activities like baseball have on youth. Growing up, baseball was part of his life and much of his time was spent at many of the ballparks that were destroyed in 2017. 

“Growing up on the island I spent a lot of time in some of these parks that are now destroyed,” says Bad Bunny, whose Good Bunny Foundation is part of the initiative. “In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.”

The rebirth of Puerto Rico is taking time but in that process, there is a sense that an even stronger community will come out of this disaster. While simple things like baseball may not seem significant, it’s a part of the fabric of Puerto Rico and displays the love that is shared playing on a field. This rebirth has already started as construction on the baseball field is underway and most field renovations are set for completion by the 2020 season.

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