What will David Ortiz be doing at this time next year?

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John Tlumacki/globe staff file This will be David Ortiz’s 14th and final season with the Red Sox.

David Ortiz signed his first contract to play professional baseball in 1992. He had turned 17 just a few days earlier.

The alternative was selling car parts with his father, so Ortiz was willing to go wherever the game would take him. That the journey would last 24 years and change the course of so many lives never occurred to him.

“I was just a kid who wanted to play,” Ortiz said. “Now I meet people and they say, ‘Thank you, Papi.’ Everything that happened, it was a blessing even if I didn’t know it at the time.”

Now it’s time for something else. Ortiz announced in November that the coming season would be his last with the Red Sox. No matter what happens in the months ahead, Ortiz will be remembered as one of Boston’s most influential athletes. From championships to controversies, few made a greater mark on the city.

Ortiz recently took time to sit down and answer some questions about his decision, his memories, and what comes next.

 

Ortiz2David Ortiz wants bat flip haters to shut up

“You don’t know what it takes to hit a homer off a guy who throws 95 miles per hour,” the Red Sox slugger said of critics of celebratory bat flips.

  1. Q. What will you be doing at this time next year?
  2. A. “Relaxing. Just relaxing. At this time next year, I’ll be having fun. I’ll still have my house in Boston but I won’t be there because it’ll be freezing. I’ll probably be in Miami somewhere. I’m building a house there. I’m going to get off baseball for a bit and see how that works. I’ll take some time for myself.”
  3. Q. Will you get back into baseball at some point?
  4. A. “Probably, yes. I’d like to go back and do some television. I also want to be around the Red Sox and help them out. I want to help out the game, the players, and this organization. I think I can add something. I have that experience and you can’t waste that. I know what it’s like to be challenged mentally and I can help the players who come after me take things to the next level.”
  5. Q. What player has been the biggest influence on your career?
  6. A. “Oh, it was Pedro [Martinez]. He still has influence on me. But not just him. Manny [Ramirez] helped me out a lot. So did Tek [Jason Varitek] and the guys I came up with in Minnesota: Torii Hunter, Eddie Guardado, Matt Lawton. Carlos Delgado was big for me. A lot of guys influenced me in my career. I tried to pick up things from everybody.

“I tell people that our little guy [Dustin Pedroia] helped me and they say, ‘Oh, but he’s younger than you.’ But we’ve been playing together for a long time and I learned so much from him. We’ve taught each other. You never stop learning in this game.”

  1. Q. What was the happiest moment of your career?
  2. A. “I would say winning that first World Series in ’04. That was crazy. That was definitely the best moment because of everything it meant to us and to the fans.”
  3. Q. What is the best team you have played for?
  4. A. “That’s a tough one. I’d have to say ’04. That team led the league in almost all categories offensively and our pitching staff was crazy. We had special players on that team.”
  5. Q. Who is the best pitcher you ever faced?
  6. A. “That’s easy. Pedro. You know why? Every pitch he had was the best pitch in the game at the time. His breaking ball went from 12 to 6. His changeup was the best I’ve ever seen. The fastball. Everything was really good.”

(Ortiz was 3 for 17 against Martinez, striking out six times. He did hit a home run off him in 2002, however. “I was lucky,” Ortiz said.)

  1. Q. Mike Mussina struck you out 27 times, the most by any pitcher. What made him so tough?
  2. A. “Mike struck me out a lot early in my career. But once I started seeing him more often, I started to hit him better. He had three different angles for his pitches. But I figured him out.”

(The numbers bear this out. Ortiz had two hits in his first 29 at-bats against Mussina and struck out 14 times. He was 16 of 45 for a .356 average after that, with four home runs.)

  1. Q. If you could change anything about baseball, what would it be?
  2. A. “Travel. When we play the last game in a series on the road, that should be a day game. It should be that way for everybody. The travel beats you up and people don’t realize that. More day games would make that better.”
  3. Q. If they make a David Ortiz movie, who plays you?
  4. A. “I would like it to be Samuel L. Jackson. I love him. He’s so cool.”
  5. Q. Will you still be part of Boston when you retire?
  6. A. “Forever. Life takes different turns and my life brought me to Boston. I’ll be around there forever. It might not be every day, but you’ll see me around there.”
  7. Q. If you could play any position, what would it be?
  8. A. “Believe it or not, shortstop. I always liked that position. When I started playing Little League, I used to go play shortstop with a lefthanded glove. It was fun. I was too big to play there but I had so much fun.”
  9. Q. Maybe you can play there one inning this season.
  10. A. “We better be up by a lot of runs, bro.”
  11. Q. Would you want your son to play baseball?
  12. A. “Hopefully. This is a wonderful career, man. Baseball is a career where it’s a tough sport but if you look at baseball players, we’re pretty humble compared to other sports.

“You don’t hear about baseball players getting in trouble like other sports. It keeps your mind busy thinking about the game. You pretty much don’t have much time to think about other things. There’s not much room to do stupid things, seems like. That is my personal experience.

“I would definitely like my kid to be like me and keep himself busy. The more busy you keep yourself, the less trouble you get into.”

  1. Q. Do you care about the Hall of Fame?
  2. “I’m not going to lie to you and say I don’t. But it’s not my decision. I think what I did, if you compare that to other players, it’s a great career. I’m proud of what I did in this game. But that’s not for five years. We’ll see.”
  3. Q. Who are the next players to get to 500 home runs?
  4. A. “Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre. I’m rooting for them. Mike Trout could do it, too. He has great power. I don’t know if he can or not. You have to play a lot of years and stay healthy. It’s hard. You have to be super consistent.”
  5. Q. Outside of Fenway, what is your favorite spot around Boston?
  6. A. “It’s actually my neighborhood [in Weston]. I like it there. It’s so quiet and peaceful. There’s no crime. I like to be at home because I travel so much. I love sitting in my backyard on a hot summer night, me and my wife. We look up at the moon and the stars and just chill. I can’t wait to get home sometimes to do that. Just chill with her.”
  7. Q. What will you miss the most when you retire?
  8. A. “Being around the guys, my teammates. They distract me in a good way every day. They all want a piece of me and that inspires me and makes my day fun.”

Zika Pushes 38 Percent Of U.S. Businesses Surveyed To Let Workers Defer Trips

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Some 38 percent of U.S. multinationals, universities and non-profits surveyed by an arm of the State Department are allowing female employees to defer travel or leave countries where the Zika virus has been reported.

A fifth of the 321 respondents said they were giving male employees similar options, a sign of how employers’ travel policies are diverging as they react to the mosquito-borne virus and uncertainty about the way it is transmitted.

Scientists are investigating a potential link between Zika infections of pregnant women and more than 4,000 suspected cases in Brazil of microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems.

The State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), which has a membership of more than 3,500 U.S. companies and institutions that do business abroad, surveyed its members and reported the results on Feb. 5.

Boeing Co, Microsoft Corp, Walt Disney Co and others assist OSAC, according to its website.

The largest share of the survey’s respondents, none of whom were identified, were only recommending ways employees can avoid mosquito bites or inform themselves via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Multinational companies contacted separately by Reuters showed a similar split over how to respond to the virus’s rapid spread in Latin America and the Caribbean.

While airlines and cruise ship operators have yet to report declines in bookings because of the disease, that may be in store if the virus lingers, Credit Suisse analyst Julie Yates said in a research note on Thursday.

FASTER THAN EBOLA

In line with CDC guidance, Wal Mart Stores Inc, American Express Co and snack-maker Mondelez International Inc have told workers who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to consult with health professionals before visiting any of the 26 countries and territories where Zika is active. The WHO declared an international emergency for Zika on Feb. 1, but much remains unknown about the virus.

Chevron Corp, which has significant operations in Brazil and Venezuela, is among companies with a more expansive policy that allows any concerned employee to opt out of travel, spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said.

By contrast, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and security products company Allegion PLC have told employees about precautions for travel but they have not publicly disclosed policy changes for women of child-bearing age.

U.S. companies have reacted faster than during past epidemics, such as the two-year-long outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that began in December 2013, because Zika is spreading in their backyard, said Christopher Pardee, manager of health intelligence at travel risk consultancy iJET.

Some 41 percent of Americans aware of the disease have said they are less likely to take a trip to affected regions, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found a week ago.

Julio Cesar Chavez and Disney Announce New Biographic TV Series

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Disney Media Distribution Latin America (DMDLA), The Walt Disney Company Latin America’s distribution and production division, TV Azteca and BFT Media, along with Julio Cesar Chavez, will produce a new biographic series based on the incredible life of the greatest Mexican boxer of all times: Julio Cesar Chávez. The show, that continues the strategy of offering engaging and relevant programming content for Hispanic audiences, will air on the popular networks: Space Latinoamérica, Telemundo in the U.S. and TV Azteca in Mexico.

“El Cesar”, the story of an idol, the life of a man, is a dramatic series that follows the steps of legendary Mexican boxing idol, Julio Cesar Chávez. The man remained undefeated for 13 years, 11 months and 14 days, at the top of world boxing charts. Julio Cesar Chavez has it all: family, money and legions of followers; however, the top is as high as the fall is hard. Thus, Chavez enters a world of privilege that gets him deep in trouble with drug dealers, women problems and addictions that will soon end his career -and almost his life. The series has 26 one-hour episodes that show us the tormented life of the Great Mexican Champion, as he discovers the difficult journey that will make him an idol.

The show is a Disney Media Distribution Latin America, TV Azteca and BTF Media production, the latter being in charge of the execution of this thrilling project that will air on Space in Latin America, Telemundo in US Hispanic and TV Azteca in Mexico.

“Being Julio Cesar Chavez one of Mexico, the Hispanic Market in the United States and World Boxing’s true heroes, and his life an incredible story, “El Cesar” has the perfect ingredients to be our next biopic drama series, that without doubt will prevail throughout time. It is truly an honor to produce this drama alongside TV Azteca, BTF Media and Julio Cesar Chávez; and we are very happy to be working on this unique project with three great networks such as Azteca 7, Telemundo and Space”, said Fernando Barbosa, SVP of Disney Media Distribution Latin America.

“One of TV Azteca’s goals for this year is to produce quality content for all audiences. This alliance with Disney, BTF Media and Julio Cesar Chávez allows us to create differential and interesting content, not only for free TV but reaching far beyond it; allowing us to position ourselves not only as a content distribution channel but also as content producers. We are very happy to be able to work with the story of a friend, one of the greatest representatives in Mexican boxing and an icon of worldwide sports”, added Rodrigo Fernández Capdevielle, General Director Estudio 7, TV Azteca.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards talks to undocumented families dealing with the fear of deportation:

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Rosa-Maria, age 65, who has lived in Phoenix after leaving Mexico 18 years ago, hates driving with a license. (She also declined to give her last name.) Whenever she sees a police officer on the road, her heart races. “All I can think is ‘Please pass me!’” she says. Even if she needs to make a turn, she keeps going straight because she doesn’t want the officer to think she’s evading him. But she’s more terrified of the prospect of her 35-year-old son, who lives nearby and is married with three daughters, getting pulled over and arrested on the way to his construction job. … She has trouble sleeping and wakes up early every morning to walk down the block to see if his car is still there. If she can’t see it, she calls several relatives to make sure he is okay. “My son acts like a big man and tells people to be strong,” she says. “But I’ve talked to his wife, and she says he’s starting to get scared. It’s not fair to have to live with this fear every day.”

Keep reading here, as Richards describes how the stress is hurting families’ health.

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