Colorado Rockies: Dominican-born players reflect on impact of David Ortiz

DENVER, CO - APRIL 23: Raimel Tapia #15 of the Colorado Rockies follows through on a second-inning, two-run home run against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 23, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 23: Raimel Tapia #15 of the Colorado Rockies follows through on a second-inning, two-run home run against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 23, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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When news broke on Sunday night that former Major League Baseball player David Ortiz had been shot in his home country of the Dominican Republic, the impact was felt by the two players hailing from the Dominican Republic who suit up every night for the Colorado Rockies.

Carlos Estevez was born in December of 1992 and hails from Santo Domingo, the city where David Ortiz was shot on Sunday night. Raimel Tapia was born in February of 1994 in San Pedro de Macoris, roughly a 90-minute drive from Santo Domingo. Both were in grade school when Ortiz, born in November of 1975 in Santo Domingo, played in more than 100 games for the first time in his career (with the Minnesota Twins in 2000).

Ortiz, most well known for his years with the Boston Red Sox, was a player who was looked up to within the Dominican baseball community, especially by the younger players, Tapia told me in an exclusive chat before Monday’s home game against the Chicago Cubs.

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“We’ve always thought really highly of David Ortiz,” Tapia said through an interpreter provided by the Colorado Rockies. “He seems like a really great person and has done a lot for the Dominican Republic. And he’s obviously a great baseball player.”

Among the ways he has helped his home country, Ortiz has established the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which provides essential support for children in the Dominican Republic and in New England who cannot afford the critical cardiac services they need. He also has worked with numerous young Dominican baseball players through camps and hours of advice.

“He always worked with a lot of kids, but he worked in an area farther away from where I lived,” Tapia said. “I know he has worked with a lot of kids in the Dominican and had a good impact on them.”

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Estevez said the team was arriving in Denver when he first got the news about Ortiz. He said he waited to see news from the Dominican Republic to see if it was real. Esetevz said his heart was racing and there were questions swirling in his head about what had happened and what the condition of Ortiz might be.

“When you say the name David Ortiz or Big Papi down there, it means a lot,” Estevez said. “He’s a big name for everything he has done in baseball and out of baseball through the community. He helps the community a lot. It’s great for a player who could be a Hall of Famer and goes into the community to help. Kids are looking up to him.”

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