Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino channels Bill Lee
The Red Sox weren’t sure what they got in a rare trade with the New York Yankees that brought in the right-hander Adam ottavino at The Athens of America. The immediate return was in prospect German Franck and an additional $ 8.25 million to their already tight luxury tax threshold. The Red Sox also have, depending on your perspective, a character, colorful player, self-promoter, or ass. Maybe all?
Performance on the pitch is more in line with Ottavino’s career stats. The walks are too numerous and seem to tend to be with the first hitter against Ottavino. Still, manager Alex Cora has placed Ottavino in high leverage situations.
Then there is the other Ottavino. His latest Bizzaro World adventure follows All-World Shohei Ohtani after a match, tie the two-way star with profanities. Ottavino placed this in the “fire of the moment” and “crime of passion” categories. Despite the usual barrage of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Ottavino remained without apologizing. No crawling past the waking crowd.
In one ESPN Podcast, the affable Ottavino waxed less than poetically on none other than Babe Ruth, claiming he would take out the legendary home run hitter every time. For the baseball historian in him, Ottavino rejected these bygone days as the game changed. Like the former Red Sox left-hander and the consummate free spirit Bill lee, Ottavino has few filters.
“Babe Ruth, with that swing, swinging that bat, I got him hit .140 with eight homers,” Ottavino said.
Ottavino missed the 60s and there is a personal attempt to capture this with a pre-game ritual called grounding. Ottavino’s approach is to channel Fenway Park’s sacred past by walking through the field in bare feet. I’m sure Ottavino has visited Walden Pond before and knows Thoreau well. May the power be with him.
“I feel like this is sacred ground,” Ottavino said.
Body art is pretty common now, from older blue haired women to bikers, and Ottavino is no exception. Ottavino has tattoos that are related to work. Despite its peculiarities, this launcher takes its job seriously. Two are related to pitch and can be seen here.
The players are giving back and Ottavino is no exception. He is a silent performer but a professional who remembers his past. Two notable examples are his tax intervention it saved a Brooklyn baseball league that Ottavino credits for making him who he is as a baseball player. The second is Ottavino and his wife Bette have taken over the children’s hospital ”Christmas in July“program. They contribute to two important factors: time and money.
“This is how I discovered the world, playing sports and being with other children,” said Ottavino.
Ottavino may reside in a Bizarro world, but when you take the tackle off you have a strong baseball player and an even stronger citizen. With free agency on hold for Ottavino, the Red Sox may have to make an offer he can’t refuse.