David Ortiz still doesn’t like Tom Kelly

David Ortiz’ book came out today and Minnesota Twins fans who idolize former manager Tom Kelly may want to skip it.

Ortiz, who could hit a baseball as if it was the size of the chip on his shoulder, came out swinging against the Twins and Tom Kelly, according to Sports Illustrated.

“I know he’s recognized as a good baseball man, but he struck me as a guy who believed his players were dumb f****s… There was a game where Kelly thought the team was too sloppy, so he ordered the players onto the field after the game. Come on. It’s major league baseball. I’d never seen anyone do that before, and I haven’t seen anyone do it since.” Ortiz blames Kelly also for his light-hitting early seasons, saying that the manager favored slap hitters because of the Metrodome’s turf. “So I kissed his ass for a couple of years and became the biggest slap hitter you’ll ever see,” writes the 6′ 3″, 230-pound Ortiz.

His problems in Minnesota, though, continued even after Kelly’s departure. After the 2002 season, the Twins released Ortiz so they could pick up a shortstop in the Rule 5 draft, Jose Morban. (Minnesota wound up waiving him before the season began.) Ortiz had just gotten married. “I feel like they f****d me. That’s the best way I can describe it. I was released on December 16, exactly one month after my wedding. Who gets released then? … I thought it was a trashy way to do business, and I couldn’t help thinking they’d done it on purpose.”

For the record, the Twins’ teams from the era when Kelly would bring his team back onto the field after games for a little extra work were known as excellent defensive teams.

Also, Tom Kelly won two World Series trophies, which is kind of the idea in baseball.

Asked by Forbes for career advice today, ironically, Ortiz said, “Be kind to the people around you. Teammates/coworkers are family, you spend a lot of your life with them, so treat them with respect and make sure you’re creating a positive vibe in the workplace.”

The Red Sox were gods in New England long before Ortiz got there. They’ll be regarded as gods now that he’s gone. He and the franchise were good for each other, not so you’d know it by what he wrote, mind you.

“When you consider everything, I was the most underpaid player the organization ever had. … They’d overpay players and then hope they could adjust to Boston. They’d underpay me, knowing that there was nothing about playing in Boston that I couldn’t handle.”

Ortiz was a designated hitter who made $158 million in his time in Boston.

He now has five years to work on a more charming speech for his Hall of Fame induction.

(h/t: Howard Sinker)

  • The best thing about Papi’s Hall of Fame chances is that it’s making people realize that Edgar Martinez deserves to be there as well.

    • He said the best hitter he ever saw was J.D. Drew.

      This guy played with Manny Ramirez.

      What a maroon.

      • Bob Sinclair

        Said in your best Bugs Bunny voice?

        • Jerry

          Who in turn said it in his best Groucho Marx voice?

    • Bob Sinclair

      Probably more so

  • Jim in RF

    I was never a big Kelly guy either, but not because of Ortiz (does Ortiz write much about how he was always hurt?). Condescending. Got the sense that he wished fans didn’t exist and they could just play games by themselves. Allowed Mee and a couple of still-current sportswriters to bully Ann Bauleke out of the business.

    • Played almost every day once he got off artificial turf. An abomination to the game.

    • MikeB

      I do miss the writing of Ann Bauleke

    • Jim in RF

      And also, both Ortiz and Sammy Sosa have never failed an official drug test…

  • ec99

    Beginning with Calvin Griffith, the Twins made getting rid of their best–and potentially most expensive players–into a cottage industry.

    • Ralphy

      Oh, I think that business model goes back to the ’20’s when the “Twins” were the Senators. The family realized they couldn’t compete with the Yankees money, and became over the next 35 years a glorified farm team.

      • ec99

        Oh, there’s no doubt Calvin was a chip off the Griffith block.

    • Bob Sinclair

      I’d say that Connie Mack, the legendary owner, GM, manager of the Philadelphia Athletics was the exemplar. He’d win a couple of peanuts, and then trash the team, just so he would’t have to pay the big bucks. In addition, his philosophy was to have middling teams because it was better for the gate. Generate just enough excitement to fill the seats without having to spend the money on the players.

      • Jerry

        It’s worked for the Marlins in past

  • Mike Worcester

    I’ll submit that baseball is littered with examples of teams who let players go, only to see them achieve stardom with other teams. Sure Johann Santana won a couple Cy Young Awards but probably won’t end up in the HOF either.

    Other examples anyone? Let’s skip Babe Ruth as he’s too easy a target 🙂

    • Brandon Phillips.

    • Ralphy

      I’m old. Here’s a couple from my day.
      Lou Brock.
      Frank Robinson.
      Gaylord Perry.
      Roger Maris.
      Nolan Ryan.
      Joe Morgan.

  • frightwig

    It’s often said that the Twins released Ortiz so they could pick up Jose Morban in the Rule 5 draft, but I think that was just the procedural move. Ortiz happened to be dropped to make room for Morban, because the club had already decided that LeCroy/Kielty could replace Ortiz’s production but for a few million dollars less than Ortiz might get in arbitration. And, as I recall, the deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players was in late December, so Ortiz would’ve been cut that month, anyway. It wasn’t like, “Oh, David Ortiz got married last month, this would be the perfect time to stick it to him.”

    It’s also conveniently forgotten that Ortiz floated around on the free agent market for 5 weeks and finally signed with Boston on a cheap flyer, where he was expected to platoon or compete for time with Jeremy Giambi, Kevin Millar, Shea Hillenbrand, and Manny Ramirez at 1B/DH. Check the Red Sox lineup log from April-May 2003. They didn’t expect Ortiz to be their everyday DH and anchor of the lineup. He got off to a slow start, too. If his April slump had extended another month, and Giambi had a hot bat to start the season, I think Red Sox history would be entirely different, now.

    • I guess I don’t disagree with any of that (although if he could only get $1.25 on the FA market, it’s unlikely the Twins would’ve gotten crushed in arbitration).

      I’d still like to see what the projections are for LeCroy and Kielty because the Bill James BROCK5 projections for Ortiz before he signed with Boston were pretty good. Not “I’ll play my whole career in Fenway Park with a short rightfield” good. But pretty good.

      It’s no coincidence, by the way, that a month before the Red Sox signed Ortiz, they hired Bill James.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ec8060bb57617a71554ba890b23cee32ea9bc839dbfbb9d225a16555e830dec.jpg

      • frightwig

        In 2002, a lot of Ortiz’s production was concentrated in a monster July–which might have been a reason the Twins let him go–but overall, Ortiz hit .272/.339/.500 (120 OPS+) in 125 games; Twins DH’s hit .245/.302/.441 that year. The next season, LeCroy hit .287/.342/.490 (116 OPS+) in 107 games;Twins DH’s hit .273/.342/.435 that year.

        If the idea was that they could do just as well at DH the next year while saving a few million (people were talking about Ortiz getting around $3M in arbitration, which probably meant something to the Twins at the time), and also make the lineup less vulnerable to lefty pitching, then Terry Ryan proved to be right about that much.

        Of course, Ryan failed to forecast that the hefty, injury-prone DH who couldn’t hit lefties was about to become a 10-time All-Star who would hit .315/.401/.620 (163 OPS+) even at age 40 (*cough*cough*). Whether that would’ve happened in Minnesota, who knows. If the Red Sox signed him because Bill James said, “This guy should be good for awhile,” kudos to them–although their behavior doesn’t suggest that Theo Epstein and Grady Little really knew what they had in him from the beginning.

  • Angry Jonny

    “There’s no crying in baseball!”-Tom Hanks

  • Jerry

    Wouldn’t you be bitter if you were a beloved and extremely well compensated former athlete?