Obama Referenced Big Papi During Cuba Game

I wasn’t the only one to think about what Big Papi said after the 2013 Boston bombing. “This is our f–king city!” became the city’s rally. Recently, President Obama referenced Big Papi and his inspiriting statement in an interview with ESPN during a Cuban baseball game. Obama’s statement came in the wake of the tragic terrorist attack in Brussels.

Part of President Obama’s recent diplomatic trip to Cuba included watching a baseballObama Referenced Big Papi game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. Unfortunately, the terrorist attack in Brussels that took place earlier reminded many in baseball of the horrible Boston Marathon Bombing back in 2013 that killed 3 and injured 264. David Ortiz took the mic at Fenway Park before a game shortly after the bombing and said, “This is our f–king city!” Big Papi’s rally not only made the crowd cheer, but also became one of President Obama’s proudest moments.

“One of my proudest moments as president was watching Boston respond after the
marathon,” Obama told ESPN announcers during the game. “Probably the only time that America didn’t have a problem with somebody cursing on live TV was when he talked about Boston and how strong it was and that it wasn’t going to be intimidated.” President Obama added, “What they can do is scare and make people afraid and disrupt our daily lives and divide us. And as long as we don’t allow that to happen, we’re going to be OK.”

President Obama’s trip marks the first time a president has traveled to Cuba since 1928. The two countries continue to repair relations after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis almost led the two countries into war. In response to the crisis, the United States placed an embargo on Cuba. The effects of the embargo impacted Cuban players in America when then-President Fidel Castro announced that any player who left Cuba to play in the United States would be permanently banned from reentry. Fortunately, the U.S. and Cuba have eased those restrictions.

Since the Boston Marathon Bombing, Big Papi’s words have become a rallying cry for many, especially those in the Red Sox Nation. As the United States and its allies continue to fight terrorism, Big Papi’s words should serve as a reminder to us all that we will never be intimidated by terrorism.

Rusney Castillo Is Making His Case for Outfield Spot Heard

RUSNEY CASTILLO

Rusney Castillo, an international free-agent the Red Sox inked to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract last August, is making Boston’s decision on which outfielders will start the season in the majors very difficult.

Castillo launched a 10th inning pitch from Minnesota’s Jake Reed over the left-field wall on Thursday at JetBlue Park, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead and the victory. In six Spring Rusney CastilloTraining starts thus far, the 27-year old Cuba native is hitting .235/.235/.706 with two home-runs, a triple and four runs batted in.

Despite missing two weeks of Spring Training with a left oblique injury, Castillo has wasted very little time showing that he is in-game condition.

“It’s definitely gratifying, especially given I came up a little short in the previous at-bat with the bases loaded,” Castillo shared with MLB.com’s Ian Browne, using his interpreter Adrian Lorenzo. “It was nice to kind of pick up my team and be able to have that at-bat be a home run, especially to decide the game.”

“I’ve always enjoyed those moments because it’s a time when the fans are expecting you to decide the game,” Castillo said in Spanish in an interview with USA TODAY. “I like being in those situations and I try to focus in those at-bats.”

Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts seem like locks to start the season in the outfield, which leaves Castillo, Allen Craig, and Shane Victorino vying for the starting right fielder position. Castillo has the most minor league options out of those three candidates, so it seems as though the easiest move would be to start him in AAA to begin the season.

“I don’t worry too much about it. I just look ahead and train to get ready,” Castillo told USA TODAY. “When you’re at [AAA], the next step is the big leagues, and the season is very similar to the majors. I try to focus on doing my job wherever I am.”

However, Craig and Victorino have both shown an inability to stay healthy the last couple of seasons, playing in only 156 games combined in 2014.

Castillo, on the other hand, has performed well at every level since signing with the Red Sox, and seemingly has a much higher offensive and defensive ceiling than either Craig or Victorino.

In 11 minor league games between A and AAA in 2014, Castillo hit .293 with five extra-base hits, five runs batted in, seven runs scored, five walks and two stolen bases. He followed that up with an impressive major league debut, hitting .333/.400/.528 with two home runs, six RBI and three steals in 10 games with the big league club.

Although it seems like the easiest choice would be to let Castillo begin the season in AAA, he has made a strong case as to why he should start the 2015 season in Fenway Park as the starting right fielder. With Boston facing many questions regarding their pitching rotation and bullpen, the Red Sox should look to the slugging Castillo if they want to put their best possible lineup on the field.