Tiffany Ortiz pays Father’s Day tribute to ‘Big Papi’
The wife and son of wounded Red Sox legend David Ortiz offered him public Father’s Day salutes Sunday, as he continued his recovery in Boston a week after he was shot in the back while visiting his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“This Fathers Day brings with it a new appreciation for life and an awareness in what truly matters,” Tiffany Ortiz wrote on Instagram. “This man, my husband, the father of our beautiful children has been the center of our universe for as long as we have been together (23 years strong).”
The message appeared alongside a photo of David Ortiz wearing a dark fedora and mirrored sunglasses that reflected the image of a barn owl.
Tiffany and David Ortiz have three children: daughters Jessica and Alexandra, and son D’Angelo, who also posted a tribute on Instagram Sunday.
“Happy Father’s Day pops love u so much u make me better and better everyday,” the 14-year-old wrote. “If I can be half the Man U are that is a success thanks for teaching me so much we only have greatness a head of us.”
Leo López, a family spokesman, said the former designated hitter remains stable in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is recovering from surgery to repair his liver and intestines. A close family friend told the Globe on Sunday that Ortiz continues to improve every day.
In Tiffany Ortiz’s posting, she went on to praise her larger-than-life husband, long known as “Big Papi,” calling him “a father figure to all.”
David Ortiz is known for his philanthropy, especially for children’s causes. The David Ortiz Children’s Fund has raised millions to provide pediatric medical care in the Dominican Republic and New England.
“Please celebrate this Papi’s Day with the ones you love,” Tiffany Ortiz wrote. “Be present in every moment, don’t get hung up on gifts, material things, titles, fame or fortune. Those things can be taken away in a moment’s notice and all we are left with is the memories of the moments we truly connected and grounded ourselves in true love.”
Dominican authorities on Friday indicted nine suspects in connection with the shooting, including Rolfi Ferreras Cruz, 25, the man accused of shooting Ortiz. The men were split up among four prisons to protect the integrity of the investigation, officials said, and could be held for up to a year while police investigate.
Ferreras Cruz has reportedly claimed from jail that Ortiz wasn’t his target, saying he was confused because he had only been told the color of the intended victim’s clothing.
“It wasn’t David,” he said, according to a video posted online by the Dominican news outlet Diario Libre. Santo Domingo’s top prosecutor, Milciades Guzmán, told reporters Friday that he plans to push for a 40-year prison term for Ferreras Cruz, the maximum under Dominican law for crimes committed with a firearm.
A 10th person implicated in the plot — Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaíno — was brought Saturday to a legal facility, where his initial court appearance was postponed until Monday, according to his lawyer.
Three suspects wanted in connection to the attack remain at large, according to Erick Montilla, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. He identified them as Luis Alfredo Rivas Clase, Marcos Díaz, and Maria Fernanda Villasmil Manzanilla.
Dominican authorities have said the alleged hit men were paid about $7,800 to murder Ortiz, who is revered in his native country as well as in Massachusetts.
Officials have not said who ordered the attack on Ortiz or what the motive might have been, but they have indicated that they expect to offer a full narrative of the shooting this week. They have not yet given any indication of what they might have to say, or when precisely they will say it.