Meet the Guy Who Wants to Get Yankees Fans to Moon David Ortiz

An interview with the mysterious man behind the 'Moon Big Papi' campaign.

The full Moon is seen isolated on a white background. High contrast, high resolution image taken with a full frame dslr camera.

Moon photo via David Ortiz by Keith Allison on Flickr/Creative Commons

Update, Friday, 10:50 a.m.: Alas, Thursday night’s game at Yankee Stadium came and went without a mass mooning. “These eyes did not see a single moon,” writes the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy. Too bad. But Moon Big Papi certainly had it’s moment in the sun. The story about the potential for the pants-less protest ricocheted around sports talk radio, late night TV, and even got a nod in a column from Ortiz himself in the Players’ Tribune. The Local Bargain Jerk, who had been organizing the spectacle, appeared to have been impressed with the way Ortiz handled the strange campaign with grace and a sense of humor. “[B]ravo, Big Papi. It’s clear you get it,” LBJ wrote on his website earlier this week. “Namely, it’s a joke, a smile, a grin. It’s something to be enjoyed by one and all.” But in the end, it was just a funny idea, and nothing more.

Earlier: As his storied baseball career comes to an end, Red Sox fans and appreciators of raw batting power everywhere keep dreaming up new ways of feting David Ortiz. The list of tributes to the slugger—a beloved local hero, powerhouse at home plate, and spokesman during our darkest hours—keeps growing (see, most recently, “Big Papi” the shark). With only a few weeks to go, expect plenty more odes to the man who has become an icon of the sport, one of the best to ever play the game.

But not from this guy, a man for whom the now-lukewarm Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is still as important as ever, who has never gotten over a certain failed drug test from 13 years ago, and whose contempt for all things Boston (counted among them this reporter, who he referred to as a “young, trembling Bostonian”) runs deep.

A family man, occasional contributor to a sports blog, and an ex-New Yorker living in New England old enough to have watched the Sox play the Yankees in 1978, he chooses to be known only as the “Local Bargain Jerk.” And at the end of this month, he wants to get thousands of Yankees fans to moon David Ortiz.

“If ten people moon Big Papi, they’ll be arrested,” reads a tagline on the website, “If ten thousand people moon Big Papi, they’ll tell their grand children they were there.”

“LBJ,” as he refers to himself, made clear from the beginning he would not make my quest to learn more about his intentions easy. The phone number listed on his website was actually the general line for the New York Yankees (it’s since been replaced with the phone number for the Boston Red Sox, a change he told me about in advance and said would prove he was actually the one running the site). When we eventually did get in touch, he declined to reveal his identity or talk to me on the phone, insisting I send him questions via email (he wanted a “written record of our conversation,” he said). 

What follows is the rest of our exchange, and it offers a peek inside the mind of a man with something to prove—someone on a mission to challenge a Boston legend with a bold, bare-cheeked act of defiance, and maybe take some jabs at our city and sell some T-shirts along the way.

I’ll let “LBJ” take it from here.

Who are you?

Someone whose parents raised him to keep his name out of magazines.

I’m also someone who understands quite well that, if my identity were to be divulged to a Boston-based journalist, I and my family would be subject to more unkind and unwanted attention than we could handle as a result of our association with a website of this nature. Shoot, you should see some of the emails I’ve received this week from the fine denizens of Beantown. Aren’t the reasons for wanting to remain anonymous obvious?

Let me ask you: Who are you? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? [Note: See byline, Shrewsbury, Framingham State]

Why do you want to moon Big Papi so badly?

Sorry, I’m not in the habit of answering loaded questions. Why are you assuming that I want to do this “so badly”?  Have we spoken before?

Please rephrase the question stripping away any suppositions and editorializing and I’ll do my best to answer. For now, I’ll pass.

OK: Why do you want people to moon Big Papi?

That’s a good question.  Do you do this for a living?

Mostly the website was created as a response to Big Papi saying he wanted Yankee fans to give him a standing ovation.  You don’t ASK for a standing ovation, big guy, you are given one as a result of a spontaneous surge of spirit and appreciation.

There’s a very strong, “Where does he come off…?” factor at play here.

If you look at when the site was first registered, you’ll see that it’s within days of Big P being quoted in the NY Post as saying he wanted a Standing O.

I read those words and had an immediate reaction.  In fact, the first thought that came to my mind is on the website and was quoted in the Sporting News. It was, “Yeah. Right. And people in hell want iced-water.”

I also said to another journalist 1-2 weeks ago, “If the Vice Principal in your school said ‘You should give me a Standing Ovation’, you’d moon him, sure as shootin’.”  This is the same general idea.

What makes you think you can get so many people to do the deed?

I’m not at all sure we’ll get “so many people” to participate. I certainly hope we do, and I think many will have a good laugh if they “do the deed,” but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Is this retaliation for A-Rod’s send-off at Fenway?

While I have indeed referenced A-Rod’s send-off at Fenway numerous times this week in my responses to the scores of angry, obscene, insulting emails the website has received from various Red Sox fans, that wasn’t the reason for “this” (as you put it).

The idea for the website was hatched long before “A-Rod’s send-off at Fenway.” If you do a few seconds of research, you’ll be able to discover the date on which the domain was first registered. With that much info, you’ll be able to deduce the reason for “this.” [Note: He appears to have registered the domain on February 24, 2016, right after that New York Post story about the standing ovation]

Oh: I should also point out that the reason for “this” is also noted on the website itself … Which leads me to ask: Are you telling me you haven’t read through the site’s content even though you’re writing an article on same? Ooofah. Spencer, Spencer, Spencer, I’m not sure I want to play…

Jeez, please at least let me know that you’ve read through the Moonvent Calendar … don’t worry, my young, trembling Bostonian, there are no attacks on Big Papi in there. It’s just a bunch of highbrow material like ass jokes and butt puns.

Why is the phone number on your site the phone number for the New York Yankees? 

Because it looked funny not to have a phone number?

Shoot, if I had had my thinking cap on when I wrote it, I would have put the phone number for the Red Sox front office.  Now THAT would have been funny.

In fact, you can expect the phone number to change any moment now. Thanks for the inspiration. (BTW, next time you look, it’ll be a 617 number. That’s how you’ll know you’re talking to the right guy.)

Do you have any other suggestions for change? That was a good one. Hee hee.

Have you done anything like this before? 

No. It’s a first for me. I even had to teach myself how to build a website of this kind (i.e., one that will present itself correctly in browsers, iPads, smart phones, etc.).

I think it all came out pretty well.  So do the other journalists who have interviewed me.  What are your thoughts? [Note: “Looks great,” I told him].

How many T-shirts have you sold so far?

Wow, that’s actually a very good question.  Trust me, there are some solid reasons for not answering it. If it’s OK by you, let’s pretend you didn’t ask it.

What is ‘Local Bargain Jerk’? A company?

No, it’s not a company. It’s nothing more than a screen name of some doofus who likes baseball and low-brow comedy. It’s a long story that would drag down your article, but it’s really an anagram for something else. [Note: Agrarian Bell Jock? Airbag Crank Jello?]

So there he is: LBJ.

His proposed mass mooning is supposed to happen Thursday, Sept. 29, which is Ortiz’s last scheduled appearance at Yankee Stadium. Ortiz said recently he expects to hear some booing, and has made peace with that. But will LBJ’s dreams of a goodbye via pants-dropping—a sea of exposed flesh in the late-September Bronx breeze—come true? Who knows.

A call to the Yankees’ press office about whether the club condoned the unofficial salute to Big Papi, by the way, was not returned.