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Putting Big Papi's retirement into perspective.

David Ortiz has performed magic while wearing number 34 for the Boston RED SOX for as long back as many can remember. My son for example was only six years old when Ortiz was picked up by the SOX. Ortiz was a big part of why Steven played ball himself and became such a huge sports fan.

Many young men like my son, who is now 20 years old, believe that the RED SOX were born to win championships and the Patriots are supposed to win the Super Bowl every few seasons. They don't know the suffering of their parent's generation and that's a good thing. David Ortiz has taught a whole generation about winning, about how to be a good sport and the importance of doing good things in the community. Guys like Ortiz are rare in today's world and that is too bad.

I will never forget my sons, then 7 and 11, staying up late to watch the RED SOX, led by Ortiz, defeat the dreaded New York Yankees in 2004 and then win their first World Series in 86 years. No team had ever been down 3 games to none only to come back and win the next four straight. What better way to teach a kid how not to give up when the odds were against you that to watch that team do the impossible? And what better guy to lead the way than David Ortiz?

My son and I watched Ortiz play his first game with the SOX together and were together again last night to see a teary eyed Big Papi play his last and say farewell to the fans at Fenway Park after Boston was eliminated from the playoffs. We've come full circle with Ortiz. Before long my son will hopefully have children of his own to watch the RED SOX with. Papi won't be there but a whole new eras of heroes will emerge to fill the void. They will never fill his shoes. The loss of David Ortiz will be greatly felt when April rolls around and hope springs eternal once more.

Thank you, Big Papi for giving my family and me so many wonderful memories and reasons to cheer over the last fourteen years. Godspeed my friend. You will be missed.