David Ortiz Showed Up at Fenway and Threw the First Pitch

Ladies and gentlemen, Big Papi is back.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we welcome home one of the most beloved people to ever wear the Red Sox uniform,” the announcer intoned at Fenway last night. “In fact, he may be one of the most beloved people in the history of this city. His city. Our city. Won’t you please welcome the symbol of resilience, strength, triumph, and love. Our one and only Big Papi. Red Sox hall-of-famer number 34, David Ortiz.”

In his first major public appearance since his near-death experience on June 9, when he was shot in the back in his native Dominican Republic, David Ortiz emerged at the park to throw the first pitch and offer words of thanks to the team and all his fans.

“First of all I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be able to be here with all of you,” he said in a speech from the mound. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me and supported me.”

As you may remember, the Sox jumped into action in the hours after the shooting, an incident that left Ortiz in mortal danger. The team flew him back to Boston for surgery, and Ortiz later spent several weeks recovering at Mass General. Ortiz has been slowly making his way back into the public eye, sharing photos of a welcome home meal with his family, then of him posing with his daughter while dropping her off at college.

Mookie Betts also offered a message to his friend and former teammate on Instagram. “So glad to have you back!” he wrote. “Love you big bro.”


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So glad to have you back! Love you big bro❤️

A post shared by Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) on

On Tuesday morning, the Red Sox also shared footage of Ortiz arriving at the park and sharing some heartfelt moments with the team. “We’re not crying,” the team wrote on Twitter. “You’re crying!”