BOSTON (CBS) — Kind words and well-wishes have been pouring in for David Ortiz after the retired Red Sox slugger was shot inside a club in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night. Many of Ortiz’s former teammates in Boston were fighting back tears when talking about his many contributions to both baseball and society, including Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Martinez got choked up when discussing Ortiz’s shooting on MLB Network Monday night, devastated that something like this could happen to someone like Ortiz.
“If there is something I must say about David, it’s that David has been a strong-hearted person. Someone that is used to perseverance and a great role model to society and baseball, and in general, as a great father,” started Martinez. “I don’t have enough words to describe who David is and what David means to baseball.
“But I’m so disappointed to know that someone like David, who has saved so many lives, can have someone after his life. And I’m sorry … I’m sorry,” Martinez continued, fighting back tears. “But it hurts me. It hurts me. A guy that saves lives, and … I’m sorry. Reaches a level of everyone who works and goes out there every day, wants to reach. Whoever gets to any job wants to get what David got; success in life, to be a role model, to be the person everyone wants to hug.
“To see someone want to take his life away, in such a coward’s way, it bothers me,” he said. “It bothers me deeply and I feel for David like a brother, like a family member, like a colleague, like a teammate.”
Martinez only shared the Boston locker room with Ortiz for two seasons, but it was Martinez who convinced the Red Sox to take a chance on Ortiz in 2003. The two developed a strong bond in that short time, one that has continued now that they have both retired. Both are from the Dominican Republic and have used their star status to help their homeland through various charitable endeavors.
Ortiz was flown to Boston from the Dominican on Monday night and is now receiving medical attention at Mass. General Hospital.