Three months to the day since David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic, the Red Sox legend jogged onto the field at Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch Monday night.
Smiling and pointing and waving to the crowd, Ortiz ran out after he was described by the stadium announcer as “the symbol of resilience, strength, triumph, and love. . . our one and only Big Papi.” He was also called “one of the most beloved people to ever wear the Red Sox uniform.”
As Ortiz jogged out, Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” blared over the loudspeakers as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Ortiz then threw the ball in a high, easy arc to Jason Varitek, who caught it handily. The two then shared a warm embrace as Ortiz laughed heartily.
Afterward, Ortiz thanked the Red Sox, his family, and his fans — and even the Yankees — for their help, prayers, and well wishes as he recovered.
“I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me,” he said. “I want to thank all of you for all the prayers. All of them came home. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.
“I want to thank my former teammates for being there for me,” he continued. “All of them came home to check up on this boy. Also I want to thank the Yankees, a lot of the boys came to check up on Big Papi.
“God bless you all. Go Sox.”