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After A Long Recovery, David Ortiz Is Back In The DR For The First Time And His Fans Went Crazy

On June 9 2019, a terrible event shook the baseball world to its core. Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was shot at a bar and almost lost his life. But Big Papi is indeed bigger than life and he pulled through, surviving and becoming even more of a symbol of inspiration for people in his adoptive Boston, the city which he now calls home and which absolutely adores him.

What made the Big Papi shooting even more shocking is the fact that he has always produced a public image that combines brute force with intelligence and a good nature that makes it hard to believe that he would have any enemies (and well, as it turned out he didn’t and it was all an unfortunate mistake). And the city of Boston got behind him with good wishes, cards and love. Ortiz was, for example, one of the unifying personalities in the city following the Boston Marathon bombings. Kids and adults, everyone loves him. 

The emotional and physical scars of the shooting that almost ended Ortiz’s life are still healing, so it came as a surprise that he decided to visit Dominican Republic.

The news devastated Boston Red Sox fan and Dominicans all around the world: Big Papi Ortiz was shot and struggling to stay alive. By now we know that he survived the incident, but he is clearly still shaken by having faced death.

In the first interview since the incident he broke down in tears, telling Univision: “For the first five seconds, I thought I was having a nightmare … I was feeling something that I had never felt before in my life, and that was to try to stay alive”. It has been almost six months since those bullets punctured his impressive physique. Because he has no enemies and an attempt on his life is a ludicrous idea, he was surprised more than afraid.

As he said during the same interview: “‘I wasn’t hurting (at first). I felt like a little burn, but I don’t even look at that. I know that I was hurting because of the impact and the sound. I started hurting later, probably when I was about to walk into the surgery”. 

It has been determined that the incident was a case of mistaken identity!

As bad luck would have it, those bullets were not intended for Ortiz. The authorities have made it official: the attack at the Santo Domingo bar was a nearly fatal case of mistaken identity. Since then a Dominican drug trafficker has been caught and charged.

The real target was Sixto David Fernández, with whom Ortiz was sharing a table and who is cousins with the alleged perpetrator,  Víctor Hugo Gómez, allegedly an associate of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. So yes, Big Papi got caught in the middle of an international trafficking turf war, and he lost his gallbladder and a big chunk of his intestine, as well as a sense of personal safety, for it. 

Now Ortiz made his first public appearance in the Dominican Republic since he was shot and he received a hero’s welcome.

Credit: Tatiana Fernandez

After he was shot he was taken care of in his adoptive city of Boston, where the slugger has charmed baseball fans and is adored by almost everyone due to his generous spirit and charity worked. Big Papi appeared in front of a cheering crowd when he made a surprise appearance at the Quisqueya Stadium Juan Marichal for the Game of Legends, in which current and past MLB stars from the baseball-crazed country get together for a charity event. 

His words to the cheering crowd: ““Praise God and long live the Dominican Republic.”

Credit: Tatiana Fernandez

There were other stars in the building, of course, including Hall of Famers Pedro Martínez and Juan Marichal, Mets player Robinson Canó and Nationals pelotero Juan Soto. But it was clear that the real rockstar was Big Papi, who was ecstatic about spending time with his people. Dominican fans thought Ortiz would never return to the island que lo vio nacer but that was also the site of the incident that almost took his life.

But Ortiz looked cheerful and was his old generous self, wearing a colorful short-sleeved shirt in the best Caribbean way. But of course he did not participate in the events themselves, as he is still convalescent after multiple surgeries in the Dominican Republic and Boston. As Mail Online reports: “However, he did not participate in any of the events held as part of the Dominican Winter League’s mid-season break”. But his presence is inspiring enough to lift anyone’s spirits and leave the fans happy. 

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