September 18, 2019

David Ortiz Talks About His Recovery From Shooting In June

David Ortiz made his first public appearance since being shot in June about 10 days ago, at Fenway Park, throwing out the first pitch before a Red Sox/Yankees game. He has also spoken about his recovery and his future with Bob Hohler of the Globe and Ian Browne of

Ortiz talked about the day he was shot:
I had a wonderful day that day with my kids. ... [At night] I decided to go with a friend of mine. This one place – it's a very nice place, a lot of big-time people go – I sit down and have a drink ... I was there for an hour and a half, two hours. Hanging out, having conversation with people. This place wasn't a club. This place was like, on a patio, that kind of type of place where you go have lunch, have a drink, go have conversation. That was a little confusing for people here ... thinking that it was a club. It wasn't a club. ... I go there ... when I'm back home, only on Sunday, and never heard of a problem.
Ortiz says when he was shot, everyone around him scattered, and he was alone on the floor. "Then this angel comes out of nowhere" – a man named Eliezer Salvador – and he put Ortiz in the back seat of his car and drove like a maniac to a private clinic Ortiz was familiar with. "He kept talking to me to make sure I stayed awake." Ortiz knew he had been shot, but "I didn't want to look at it, to be honest." In the morning, after the initial surgery, the Red Sox arranged to bring Ortiz to Massachusetts General Hospital. He remembers nothing of the trip.
I was still doped up from the medication. ... I remember telling my Dad, "Dad, cover my feet. I'm feeling a little cold." And then I passed out. The next time I woke up was when I got to Mass General. I don't even know when they took me out of the airplane once I got here. All I know is I opened my eyes once I got out of the ambulance going into Mass General and then, boom, pass out again.
In Boston, Ortiz underwent a second surgery. Three weeks later, he suffered a severe bacterial infection and need additional surgery. "It was very dangerous. I got to the point that I started losing hope." According to the Globe:
In his bleakest days after the surgery, Ortiz fought desperation, even in his sleep. Over seven weeks, he could swallow nothing but melted ice chips – except for a small cup of Jell-O and some fruit that he threw up. ...

"I had nightmares all the time about being in the desert, looking for water," he said. ...

Ortiz drew a measure of hope when the medical team would tell him he would survive. But he began to prepare for the possibility that he would be permanently debilitated ...

"I felt that if I didn't die, then I would never be the same again," he said. "I went through hell with that."
On July 22, almost seven weeks after the shooting, Ortiz was able to keep down food for the first time: a cup of soup. He soon returned to his home outside Boston. Ortiz has hired former Boston Police Department commissioner Ed Davis to work with police in the Dominican Republic to find out why he was targeted.
There were so many rumors out there. But like I told them, the Dominican is a country that social media informs you somehow, some way, because there is no consequence. There are people that ... come out there with some things that aren't true, just because they want to get followed or get some likes. There are a lot of rumors, a lot of bad things came out, but none of them were related to what really happened to me.
Again, from the Globe:
First, the authorities announced that an unspecified person with an undisclosed motive had placed a $7,800 bounty on Ortiz's head. Six suspects were arrested, and Ortiz said he knew none of them or why anyone would want to harm him. ...

Nearly three weeks later came another announcement. Eight more suspects had been arrested – Ortiz said he knew none of those, either – and police concluded that the actual intended target had been his friend, Fernandez, who sat near him that night.

The bounty on Fernandez was closer to $30,000, authorities said, and his cousin, an alleged drug dealer, had wanted him killed because he allegedly had spoken to police about him more than eight years earlier. ...

Now, there are questions about whether Cesar Peralta, a Dominican drug kingpin known as "The Abuser," or his cartel may have been involved in the shooting, which to Ortiz also defies logic.
While little of the conflicting available information makes sense, Ortiz can joke about the incident. Noting the reported $7,800 bounty on his head, Ortiz said: "You gotta pay a lot more than that to get me killed. I ain't that cheap."

Big Papi hopes to be in Los Angeles next month to work as an analyst for Fox Sports during the postseason.
I was always very accessible, but I think I'm going to cut down on that a little now. One lesson I've learned is that you can't be naive. There are a lot of things going on now that you have to be aware of. I need to pay attention and be more careful.

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