David Ortiz has won many times with the Red Sox. He led Boston to a World Series victory in 2004 after an ALCS in which he initiated the first-ever 3-0 comeback in baseball history. He has won two more World Series titles since then, including in 2013 when he hit .688 throughout that series.
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The Red Sox have been very different since Ortiz retired from the game, and they’ve been trying to find new ways to win ever since. One of those ways is to try to get as much bang for their buck as possible by relying on local talent and short-term contracts, a strategy that has worked for the Tampa Bay Rays. Ortiz, however, has qualms with this method.
“Everybody’s trying to do it the Tampa way,” Ortiz said Monday, according to NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase). “I really like the Tampa way, the way they operate in the regular season or whatever, but it didn’t work for them in the playoffs.”
Despite their annual regular season success, the Rays did not sustain it in the playoffs. They have yet to win a World Series, and they have only done so once (2020) in the last 10 years. Outside of 2020, they haven’t even reached the ALCS. Underperforming teams have taken that opportunity away from them over the past decade, including the Red Sox.
“Every year [the Rays are] in the playoffs, every year they top the division,” Ortiz said. “It happened long before I retired, but to no avail. THE [ultimate] the result is to win everything. So even with the perfection they have, something is still missing.
The Red Sox have been widely compared to the Rays in recent years, with some giving Boston the nickname “Tampa North.” They are proud of their farming system and rarely hand out massive contracts. They have received criticism for trying and failing to re-sign their star players at a discount in their hometown. Even their chief decision-maker, baseball manager Chaim Bloom, was hired after working for the Rays.
But that doesn’t mean a team that relies heavily on young talent can’t win. The Houston Astros have won two World Series in the past 10 years, thanks in large part to their once-dominant farming system. Ortiz agrees and hopes that if Boston wants to go in that direction, they’ll look to Houston as a role model.
“A lot of teams have won with farm guys,” Ortiz said. “Look at the Houston Astros. It is an organization that I will copy, depending on what it does. Because they know how to do it in the regular season, and they know how to do it in the playoffs.
Only two players remain, Rafael Devers and Chris Sale, from Boston’s 2018 World Series squad. This is a brand new Red Sox team with brand new managers, and they hope to win very soon. Ortiz hopes when they get back to winning ways, they do it the right way.
“I want to dominate in the regular season, yeah, so I can make the playoffs,” Ortiz said. “But I also want to dominate in the playoffs.”
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