Most of the time, David Ortiz is the happiest, nicest and most likeable player in Major League Baseball.
The guy exudes positive energy. He loves people period, and I'm talking New York Yankees and media included.
He's got a great sense of humor. He crosses cultural lines, too. All races, creeds and nationalities love the guy.
The problem is he's been here too long and, according to him, been put through the wringer way too many times. It happens. Some guys, even the happy ones, need to find a new home. And Ortiz is one of those guys.
From where I sit, the problem is, despite his gaudy stats — .302 ave., 22 homers (5th in AL) and 55 RBI (7th in AL) — the Red Sox are a mess. Most of all, though, Ortiz unfortunately doesn't get it.
In most cases, Ortiz has gotten off scot-free as a member of the Red Sox. Sure, he has been criticized for his 0-for-April starts and lack of firepower (ave. 45 HR and 135 RBI per season from 2004-07 to ave. 28 HRs and 97 RBI from 2008-11), but he has been under the radar during a lot of the criticism levied at this team the last half-dozen excruciating years.
Remember, he used steroids and got caught. We never got a straight answer on it, other than he used some "stuff" he got in the Dominican Republic.
And his "clutch" gene magically disappeared about a half-decade ago when it seemed his name was always associated with "walk-off."
Ortiz has two major issues during his down times, timing and money. He doesn't seem to understand the concept of either.
He is upset the Red Sox constantly force him to sign one-year deals whereas some stumblebums — see Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez — have been signed for a combined three-quarters of a billion dollars.
That's his problem, keeping up with the Joneses. Those aforementioned Red Sox have been overpaid at a meteoric rate. Every Red Sox fan agrees with Ortiz.
But here's a little Ortiz tidbit: He will have made $100 million, over his career, when the 2012 season ends.
I don't know if Ortiz has talked to the commonfolk in his neighborhood or at his local grocery store, but that's about 99 percent more than most families will make in their lifetimes.
That's what the 2012 president election will be about ... good jobs at good wages ... or lackthereof.
Ortiz isn't a bad guy. He really isn't. He's just out of touch, a bit, after 10 seasons here. It's a grind playing here for nearly 1,500 games. Heck, Theo Epstein begged out seven months ago.
You will see Ortiz a lot during the All-Star festivities. He'll be hugging all of the home run derby guys. He'll probably be handing out Gatorades to players kids. Everybody will love David Ortiz in Kansas City this weekend.
But the Red Sox need more than a few hugs and smiles on Game Day. They need players, particularly the veteran ones, to be focused on winning. With so many impressionable, young players on the roster, team players are a necessity.
The Red Sox have some serious blowing up to do. It should start with their designated hitter, who would be a nice addition for a World Series contender/favorite in the American League.
Let the David Ortiz Farewell Tour begin.