[quote name='Shane Wahl']That little RF in Fenway is nice like that. Still doesn't mean he couldn't have been pretty great, I suppose. Potentially some managerial issues as well?[/QUOTE]
[quote name='USAFChief']I've heard this assertion before. Other than the nickname, why wouldn't he have been a great hitter here?[/QUOTE]
Through 6 years up and down with the Twins and through 2 managers- to paraphrase an iconic movie- "what we (apparently) had there was failure to communitcate". The Twins apparently never felt that Ortiz was able to "get the basics down"***
before they were willing to consider him a "solid major leaguer", even as he was having a breakout year in 2002. Furthermore, they compounded their mis-assessment of Ortiz, clearly on the way up in his career, but also LeCroix (despite being the same age as Ortiz) who had done little to that point for the Twins, peaked in 2003 and quickly was on a career-ending crash-and-burn spiral.
[QUOTE]Ortiz loved Minnesota when he was here. And he was the most popular guy in the clubhouse. The fans loved him, too, but Ortiz didn't like what the Twins tried to do to him as a hitter. Or at least what he thought the Twins were trying to do to him as a hitter.
Years ago, I talked with him...about the subject. He was on his way to winning a World Series with Boston at the time, but a dark cloud came over him as soon as the topic arose.
"I always hit a lot of home runs when I was coming up," he said. "I'd take a big swing and my first manager would be screaming at me: 'Hey, hey, hey, what are you doing?' Are you kidding me? You want me to swing like a little girl? I'll swing like a little girl."
Ortiz's first manager was Tom Kelly, who has always explained that the Twins were trying to develop Ortiz into a solid major league hitter firs
t.***The implication was that Ortiz would be able to swing a bit more freely after he got the basics down.
But Ortiz, a big guy, felt restricted.
"My first exhibition game here (with Boston), I came up with a runner on second and no outs," Ortiz said during that same interview. "I'm thinking, 'I've got to get the runner over.' "
Ortiz took a make-contact swing. When he returned to the Red Sox dugout, then-manager Grady Little was waiting for him.
"Grady said, 'This is not the Twins. You've got to bring that guy in,' '' Ortiz said. "OK, looks like I got a green light.
Communication is a 2 way street, I think Ortiz had likely reached an impasse in this regard with the field manager- he was going to be a Dominican "Cool Hand Luke"- come hell or high water, making Terry Ryan's decision to release him a fairly easy one.