Big Papi takes fans behind scenes via @MLB
A day in the life of the Red Sox slugger unfolds through social media
BOSTON -- The brisk morning started with a "Happy" run on the front lawn.
Then the puppy's owner, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, walked out the front door of his suburban home and greeted the world with a hearty belly laugh.
Nobody loves this big puppy more than Big Papi. Nobody loves baseball and Boston like Ortiz does.
Welcome to #PapiAllAccess, MLB.com's behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Ortiz. We followed Papi from his front door to the front gate of Fenway Park on the day slugger and his teammates received their 2013 World Series championship rings.
Connecting with fans is important to Ortiz, and he loves social media, so it's no surprise Ortiz jumped at the chance to answer Twitter questions from @MLB and @RedSox on the ride to work. Fans interacted with Papi via the #PapiAllAccess hashtag, which was the No. 2 trending topic nationally for a few hours on Friday morning.
"I love my fans. I love the way I get well-connected with the fans," Ortiz said. "We live through you guys. You guys make us. I think the best thing that ever happened was getting that connection directly with the fans and [being able to] show them who we are off the field."
The trip to Fenway Park from Ortiz's home started in his driveway and made an immediate turn down memory lane. Before Ortiz became Big Papi, he was a young boy in the Dominican Republic, and he wants the world to know he has not changed.
"I know one thing -- and my dad can tell you about it and my mom would, too, if she were still alive -- and that's every day I always gave everything I had to be somebody, and not just because I wanted to be famous and get money," Ortiz said. "I wanted to take care of my family, because I basically come from nothing. I had parents who educated me and taught me how to do the right thing. That's why I always tell teenagers that growing up to get money is not the most important thing. Pay attention to being well-educated. That gets you closer to any goal that you could ever imagine that you want to get to."
In the next turn, Ortiz also opened up about his relationship with his father Enrique, who usually rides to work with his son when he is visiting from the Dominican Republic. The slugger says Enrique taught him everything he knows and is still his biggest cheerleader and advisor.
Then Ortiz opened up his Twitter account.
One reader asked Ortiz to name the funniest player in the Red Sox's clubhouse. Ortiz smiled before he answered.
Opening Day! pic.twitter.com/WoI23DAuL7- John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) April 4, 2014
"Last year, it was Ryan Dempster. No question. Hands down, Ryan Dempster," Ortiz said with a laugh. "This year, it's still early. But they laugh at everything I say, so I might be leading the way right now. I'm on the top [of] the list right now."
Another fan wanted to know what Ortiz does during his free time. That's when the slugger nodded his head. He knows Big Papi becomes Big Daddy on days off and during the offseason.
"I like to chill. I like to watch a lot of TV, movies and be with my kids watching what they do," Ortiz said. "I like to be at home. I'm always traveling and going to different cities, doing different things, so in my time off, I'm at home. I like to enjoy my movie theater in the basement. I like going to the backyard and playing with my kids and spending time with the wife. "
The beach is among the list of Ortiz's favorite places to visit when he's in the Dominican Republic, he told one reader. He loves the Boca Chica area for short visits and the beaches in Punta Cana for weekend family getaways.
Big Papi also loves baseball, but everyone already knew that.
Ortiz's routine at the ballpark start the minute he exits the car and walks into the Fenway Park. That's when "it's really on, baby," he said.
"Ten years ago, [the routine] was different. But now I'm a little older, so I got to make sure the whole engine is functioning right," Ortiz said with a smile.
Ortiz's work day starts in the training room, and he eventually moves to the gym and video room after about 30 minutes. He hits in the cage on most days and is always ready for batting practice on the field. Sometimes, Ortiz will have a snack before the game, and he always watches more video about an hour before the game starts.
Game time never comes fast enough.
"Everybody expects us to repeat," Ortiz said. "It's not an easy thing to do, but if you do the right thing and you play the game with the same intensity that we did last year [it is possible]. Last year, we were not favored at all to win the World Series, but the unexpected happens. It's like I always say, 'The body that has a good head is always going to function the right way.'"
It seems Ortiz can do no wrong in Boston. He was greeted with handshakes and hugs from the security guards when he arrived at Fenway Park on Friday morning. Ortiz soon disappeared into the clubhouse to start his daily routine.
A roaring crowd of cheering Red Sox fans welcomed Ortiz when he emerged from the dugout a few hours later to accept his ring. There were countless hugs on the field when his named was announced during the pregame ceremony.
This is what Ortiz had been waiting for all morning, but it was likely more than he imagined.
Ortiz carried his new championship ring in a box under one arm and another ring made just for him under the other arm as he joined his teammates in the outfield. On his neck, he wore a thick necklace with the World Series rings from the 2004 and '07 championship teams dangling on it.
The slugger eventually put the third ring on the necklace, looked up at the Fenway Park faithful and beamed.
Big Papi was at his home away from home.
"I was thinking about the beginning of the season last year, how it was around this time and how it was going to be today," Ortiz said. "I was thinking about what we went through with the [Boston] Marathon, and people that lost their lives, trying to do the right thing and how bad this town has struggled. I think that the ring that I got today, I wish I could tear it up in small pieces and pass it out to the fans, because every single fan deserves a piece of it. We did it together. We did it as a group. They motivate us to play better, and we motivate them to feel better."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.