A lot goes through your mind when watching a typical four-hour marathon between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. I have watched thousands of such match-ups being in Maine and in NESN territory or otherwise on national television. And right in the middle of most of them for the last ten years has been David Ortiz. With so much time taken up by a nine-inning ballgame, the mind tends to get some strange thoughts. And one such thought last night was that David Ortiz was the Thorin Oakenshield of baseball.
I have had four main passions in my life. Baseball is one. J.R.R. Tolkien is another when I read his Middle Earth sagas as an eleven-year-old in 1967. The Beatles and God. Those have been my four. I have combined these passions on a number of occasions. But I don’t think I have ever combined Tolkien and baseball. But the thought persisted yesterday about Ortiz and the King Under the Mountain.
Bear with me here. I understand this is a weird thought. But here are the comparisons:
- Both sit on the sidelines most of the time while the rest of their teammates do most of the work.
- Both like to have every eye on them and dress to the nines.
- Both have this grand sense of who they are.
- Both consider themselves the most important member of their company.
- Both have had chips on their shoulders about how they have been treated in life.
- Both make a grand spectacle when they finally become part of the action.
- Both are bigger than life.
- Both have detractors. Thorin, the elves and Ortiz, Yankee fans.
- Both are begrudgingly given the respect they are due because when they have big moments, they have really big moments.
Thorin died with his sword on his chest and with a special stone. Someday in the distant future, David Ortiz will die with the bat on his chest and plenty of special stones on his fingers.