Anybody who is anybody in the sports world will do just about anything to cadge a prized invitation to the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic. Just ask Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who worried that an end-of-the-year tiff between a teammate and the Boston Red Sox slugger who hosts the annual golf fest in the Caribbean might ruin his chances of teeing it up amid the sun and surf of the Dominican Republic’s Cap Cana resort.
“After David fought with [Kevin] Gregg [during the regular-season series finale to Boston’s catastrophic 2011 season], I went up to Papi the next day, hugged him and asked, ‘Still cool if I come to the Dominican?’” Jones told the New York Daily News.
For sure, Ortiz — who’s mulling whether to accept arbitration from the Sox or test free agency — has attracted some of the world’s top athletes to his Dominican event, celebrating its fourth year this weekend. Ortiz may play the role of gracious host more than competitor in his yearly to-do, but players such as New York Yankees’ star closer Mariano Rivera and third baseman Alex Rodriguez have teed it up with the likes of former Sox ace Pedro Martinez and Boston Hall of Famers Bill Russell (Celtics) and Bobby Orr (Bruins).
ith Bobby Valentine breaking away from the love-fest that accompanied his appointment as new Sox manager to woo Ortiz back to the fold, one could argue that more work gets done during the golf soiree than at baseball’s winter meetings. After all, it was here that 45-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield made a pitch to take the mound “one more year for the Red Sox,” according to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. And that old friend and snazzily attired Puma representative Johnny Damon urged Ortiz to take his talents to Sox fans’ hated rival, the Evil Empire.
“Shoot, I was trying to tell him if he went to New York his 30 home runs turns into 40,” Damon told Abraham, touting the benefits of Yankee Stadium’s short right field fence. “As a baseball fan, I would love to see him stay in Boston. But being a part of it, I know there may be some opportunities and less drama elsewhere.”
Drama? On Yawkey Way? Damon must have his former team mixed up with some other gang of overpaid, fried chicken-snarfing, beer-guzzling prima donnas.
But that’s a problem for new skipper Bobby Vee to tackle. Because, really, this weekend was all about Damon and the other celebs who showed up to be seen and chip in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to help sick kids in the Dominican and New England receive the medical care they need.