Rivera was a guest at Ortiz’s party here Saturday night, as was another former Yankee rival, Fox Sports colleague Alex Rodriguez. Several former Ortiz teammates also came to town, including Johnny Damon, Latroy Hawkins, Mike Lowell, Trot Nixon, Dustin Pedroia, Tim Wakefield, Kevin Youkilis, and Pedro Martinez, a Hall of Famer from the Dominican Republic.
Many fans waved Dominican flags in honor of Ortiz, who stood for his homeland in his speech: “We have a lot of good and happy people, beautiful beaches where you guys can go when you get cold here,” he said. Ortiz’s daughter, Alex, sang the US national anthem before the ceremony, and Ortiz spoke in his speech about his mother, Angela Rosa, who died in 2002.
“Looking through this speech and putting it together, I cried a lot, to be honest, even this morning, every time I touched my mom,” Ortiz said. “It just got to the point, repeating over and over again, it cured a bit.”
For Ortiz, this honor was perfectly timed. He was shot in the back in the Dominican Republic in 2019 and it’s scary to think how close he came to missing his own ceremony. Instead, he’s healthy and strong—a full Big Papi on the most important day of all.
“Thank God I’m fine, I have no injuries, I’m back to normal,” Ortiz later said. “I always appreciate it and thank God for everything.”