An Open Letter To David Ortiz

Dear Mr. Ortiz,

In 2004, I was 7 years old. I remember sitting on the T in my puffy Red Sox jacket as my dad and I took the Green Line to Fenway. It felt like forever. Not because I was little and impatient, but because there was something different about this season.

This was not my first time at Fenway. I grew up listening to Sweet Caroline and thinking the park was singing to me (disappointed to find out later that nobody knew my name was Caroline). This year was different, though. It would be the first year I remembered the team.

This is because of, you Mr. Ortiz. Don't get me wrong, I miss the '04 team every day. Your championship revived a city and made us even more proud to say we were from Boston. I begged my mom to let me miss school to see the parade. Once again, there I was, in my puffy Red Sox jacket looking up at you holding the World Series trophy. I had never experienced anything so exciting.

As time passed, players left or retired and I continued to grow up. My hat and jersey were no longer pink; I now wore blue. You remained a constant and season after season I would show up to see you.

In October of 2013, I sat in the outfield of game six of the World Series with my grandmother. I had a 101 degree fever and had been out of school for a couple days—but this was not an opportunity I could miss. We won and I cried.

April 15, 2015, two years after the Boston Marathon Bombings, I sat first baseline with my mom during the most chilling moment of silence I have ever experience. At the time I was living in Connecticut and had driven three hours to watch you play on that warm April day.

In May of this year, I celebrated my 20th birthday at Fenway. This would be the last time I would see you play. We won.

This past Sunday, you played your last game. I listened to it on the radio with my sisters in the car. After hearing your speech, I began to cry and my sisters looked at me like I was crazy. The youngest is eleven; she doesn't understand.

I told her that this was your last game. That I've always remembered being a Red Sox fan, but that you were the first player and part of the first team I truly remembered. And since then, you have played a role my greatest childhood memories.

Thank you, Mr. Ortiz, for being the sports hero of my childhood. For being the person that bridged generations, bonding both family and friends. I am lucky to have grown up in the era of Red Sox history and it will be hard to imagine this franchise without you.