On December 31st, 2006, Fire Brand will be turning three years old. Fire Brand started on December 31st 2003 with an article on how I felt there was no such thing as the Curse of the Babe. I’ve certainly come a long way.
My first full year blogging witnessed the absolute miracle that was the 2004 season, and this past Christmas saw me receive an autographed Dave Roberts baseball on a 2004 World Series baseball, fitting because Dave Roberts holds a special place in my heart for being such a great person and the person that’s part of the seminal moment of the 2004 season, or even the seminal moment of Red Sox history. Since then, the Red Sox made the playoffs (and were swept out in short affair) in 2005 despite the team stumbling there. 2006 saw a team of great promise completely fall apart in August (and I think it has a lot to do with a lack of a July 31st trade, or no true “let’s go get them” rallying cry, but that’s just me) and finish in third place. Hopefully the fourth year of Fire Brand will do well.
Everyone who has ever visited this page, who currently visits this page, who has commented and who continues to comment: Thank you. Thank you for listening to me even though I’ve given you no reason to. Thank you for helping me feel part of a big Sox community. Thank you for calling yourselves “Firebranders.” Thank you for reading.
This also means a new Fire Brand needs to be crowned. The inaugural Fire Brand was Tim Wakefield, who was followed by Bronson Arroyo. Mike Timlin received the honors for the 2006 Fire Brand, and now someone needs to wear the Fire Brand mantle with honor.
The Fire Brand of the American League is a Red Sox player who exhibits character under pressure, an unassuming man who leaves the spotlight for other people but makes his indelible mark on the past seasonís Boston Red Sox. A piece most people take for granted, but whom we would have missed dearly.
It was a very difficult decision, and it came down to two people: Jonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz. I initially swayed Papelbon’s way and it stayed such as for over a month. How could it not? Papelbon became a huge player for us, nailing down the closer’s position and sweeping Boston like wildfire, becoming one of the most popular players on the team. His season was unfortunately cut short and will be converted into a starter, but from April to August, Papelbon posted the second-best (or best, but let’s not nitpick) season ever as a closer behind Dennis Eckersley. 68.1 IP. 35 saves. 0.92 ERA. Also a leader in charitable events and a no-nonsense guy in the clubhouse, Papelbon was the choice.
But something happened. I felt that I was shorting David Ortiz, and Zach felt that the true Fire Brand for 2007 should be David Ortiz. David Ortiz, who has carried the team for four years both on and off the field. David Ortiz, who set a record for most home runs as a Red Sox player (and could have passed 60 home runs if not for a heart scare in August). David Ortiz, who hit .287/.413/.636 with 54 home runs. David Ortiz, who makes everyone light up into a smile with his presence. Ortiz, who is willing to donate his money and his time to charitable events. Ortiz, who always walks around with his ‘bling.’ Ortiz, who is the author of such quotes as “I’m a bad motherf—-r,” “This is not Apple Sox, this is not Barbecue Sox, this is THE Sox” and “We will beat Baltimore and take their beer.”
How could it not be David Ortiz? It had to be. So ladies and gentlemen, the thumbnail that will grace this page as soon as our webmaster gets it up is none other than the 2007 Fire Brand of the American League … David Ortiz.