With the “Big Papi farewell tour” officially underway it got me thinking how the most recent farewell tours have ended.
Peyton’s season was his worst statistically and was turbulent at best. Peyton was hurt, benched but rose again to play good then average in the playoffs. He was such a shell of himself, the Broncos basically took the ball out of his hands and let the defense win Super Bowl 50. Nevertheless, Petyon hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in his career, despite his less than stellar contributions. Peyton also had to deal with accusations of performance enhancing drug use and sexual misconduct during his time in college at the University of Tennessee.
Kobe’s goodbye started with him under performing mostly on a very bad Lakers team. In fact, his last two seasons the Lakers had the worst season in both wins and winning percentage in their storied history. With his body deteriorating, Kobe announced on November 29th, 2015 that the 2015-16 season would be his last. Kobe went on to have some memorable game during the year showing glimpses of his former self and dropped 60 in his last game. Although he was cheered at every home and road contest, it was hard to watch at times, but all in all I think basketball fans appreciated the chance to see Kobe one last time and respected that he went out on his own terms.
Likewise, David Ortiz announced before the season began that the 2016 season would be his last. Ortiz, arguably the most clutch athlete in Boston sports history, had a solid 2015 season batting .273, driving in 108 RBI and hitting 37 homers. This season in 16 games, Ortiz is batting .286, has drove in 14 runs, is slugging .589 and has hit 3 home runs.
So which will Papi’s send off be like: Peyton’s or Kobe’s?
Hopefully sports fans will see a mix of what Peyton’s and Kobe’s final seasons look like. A splash of Peyton’s team success with a dash of Kobe’s legendary finish.
Maybe though, Ortiz and add his own ingredient of how a larger than life sports hero is supposed to walk off.
In a perfect sports ending, Ortiz will give fans statistical consistency coupled with flashes of brilliant performances, remain healthy and continue to be the club leader on a competitive/successful team all while appreciating in his career and smiling until his final at-bat.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo