Even though the odds are against the Boston Celtics, former Red Sox quarterback and Hall of Famer David Ortiz hasn’t given up on his favorite basketball club.
Big Papi knows no NBA team has recovered from a 3-0 deficit like the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
It has happened 149 times in league history and the team in front has won the series.
Ortiz and the Red Sox faced seemingly insurmountable odds in 2004 when they trailed the rival New York Yankees 0-3 in the American League Championship Series. Not only did they come back, but Boston won the World Series. It is the only team to do so in MLB history.
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“Yeah, and there’s never been a better time,” Ortiz said in an interview with The Associated Press Monday morning at the charity golf tournament. If you do it in basketball, it should be the same city. You know what I’m saying.’
The 47-year-old Ortiz, who was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame last summer, knows how the Celtics should look.
“Being 3-0, you have two options: You either quit or you come back, and in professional sports, once you get to that point, there’s no way to quit,” said the 2004 ALCS MVP Ortiz. “Once you get there — even if you’re 3-0 — you don’t think about quitting, you’re thinking, ‘Okay, I’ve hit bottom. I have to go step by step now. I can’t try to win three games at once.”
Like the 2004 Red Sox, who were blown 19-8 in Game 3, the Celtics are coming off a big loss in Miami on Sunday night.
Ortiz recalled what the club was like after that match.
“Very calm,” he said in the interview, sitting at an outdoor table near the stadium. “We thought a lot about it: ‘Man, they score a lot of runs in the third game. We have played with these players more than 20 times and we know what to do to beat them. We just weren’t doing that. Jump back on the cart.
Ortiz’s former 2004 teammate Tim Wakefield, also in the tournament, feels like the Celtics need someone to lighten the mood.
Ortiz was part of the famous 2004 Boston Red Sox team that won the ACLS Championship and World Series
“They should have someone like Kevin Millar, to come up and say, ‘Don’t let us win tonight,'” he said. “That actually changed our whole behaviour. When we entered the club for the fourth game, we thought we were done.
Ortiz said faith is vital.
“I think there’s no room for negativity once you’re there,” he said. Every thought has to be positive, every thought, so you can get out of it.
“So we go from never to never and we get to it,” he said, laughing.
Ortiz’s tournament—dubbed the Boston Heart Classic—raises money for children who need life-saving medical treatment both in his native country, the Dominican Republic, and in New England.