David Ortiz knows a thing or two about making an impression in front of a microphone.
The man who dropped the most famous ‘F-bomb’ in sports history, in a famous speech at Fenway Park just five days after the Boston Bombings in 2013, now has a job speaking to people in the comfort of their homes every night from a broadcast booth on TV. He’s not the most polished on camera and is vastly different from his well-coiffed television partner and former nemesis Alex Rodriguez, but it’s Big Papi’s charm and sincerity that really shine in the broadcast booth.
“I’ve called him the Magic Johnson of our game for over a decade,” Rodriguez said to Sports Illustrated. “He’s the one guy that crosses over. He’s the one guy that everyone loves. He appeals to the masses. It was fascinating. He broke our hearts so many damn times. But even Yankee fans like Big Papi.”
The two first met as a part of the Seattle Mariners organization in the 1990s, and now their relationship has developed into one of mutual respect and admiration. That shows up on TV, where Ortiz plays the fun foil to Rodriguez’s buttoned-up approach, even teasing A-Rod about his new girlfriend, actress Jennifer Lopez.
“I really like the A-Rod that I’ve been dealing with these past three weeks,” Ortiz told Sports Illustrated. “You know what? I even make the comment to him at some point: Did J. Lo have something to do with this?”
Big Papi’s larger-than-life personality was a staple of MLB for decades, and now his personality shines through the screen. With the World Series in full swing and Ortiz settling into his role on camera, it’s a job the former Boston Red Sox star feels like he can perform at an elite level for a long time.
“I don’t try to be Mr. Perfect,” Ortiz said. “I just try to talk about what I know in the way I know how.”