David Ortiz is the most senior Red Sox player. When asked about the team’s leadership and a team meeting he had called on May 11, he bristled at the line of questioning.
He (apparently) called out current and former players (Varitek, Pedroia) the media considers leaders.
“Well, let me tell you, I was reading an article [that] talked about the leaders people call ‘leaders’ in this town,” he said. “Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.
“And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?”
He also questioned the notion of “leadership” itself, asserting he’s just “the kind of [expletive] who worries about winning games.”
“What they call leaders is not what a leader is all about,” he said. “They need to go to the dictionary and find out what the word ‘leader’ means. You know what I’m saying? The leaders they call leaders are the ones who get in front of the crowd and try to lead them. But that’s not the case here.
“I’m the kind of [expletive] who worries about winning games. I’m a winner. I hate losing. But what I do, I don’t do for everybody to know. I do it for us to get better, and the trash talking out there to stop.”
This will be characterized as “a rant,” but Ortiz is right. “Leadership,” as defined by the media, does not exist. Leadership is a dumb sportswriting trope. It is a cheap infusion of narrative, a vacuous explanation in lieu of trying thought. Leadership is impossible to define. It has no predictive value. It can only be correlated with success or failure, after the success or failure.
Even if such a trait does exist, it would be least relevant in baseball, a series of isolated acts and individual match ups. What Jon Lester does on the mound has absolutely nothing to do with Josh Beckett cheering him on from the dugout or slathering himself with chicken grease.
Considering stuff we can correlate with winning baseball games, Ortiz is hitting .333/.402/.616 with 10 HR in 159AB. If the Red Sox make the playoffs, after a rough start he will be “leading by example.”
[Photo via Presswire]