The Tigers shouldn’t have honored Big Papi

His crushing

His crushing bases loaded home run in Game Two of the 2013 ALCS makes Boston slugger David Ortiz a villain in Detroit sports lore.

David Ortiz, David Ortiz, David Ortiz.

He’s been shoved down the throats of baseball fans everywhere all throughout this MLB season, whether they like it or not. Subsequently, fans have been forced to appreciate the slugging prowess of Ortiz that has been existent since he joined the Boston Red Sox in 2003, one season prior to the franchise’s first World Series title since 1918.

And because of what? It’s his farewell season, and opposing MLB clubs want to make sure the legendary Red Sox designated hitter, who’s having an epic season at 40, gets the proper send off.

And MLB’s media members have added to the homage being paid to “Big Papi” by covering his journey from Opening Day to his last game and at-bat in a Red Sox uniform. Their narratives about his terrific, Hall of Fame-caliber legacy have empowered opposing clubs’ PR staffs to honor the bigger-than-life, three-time World Series champion for his efforts with one of the most well-respected but hated ballclubs in today’s game.

In Big Papi’s last regular season series at Comerica Park August 18-21, the Tigers also fell victim to honoring the legacy of the big fella. Al Avila and company might have felt inclined to do so because of the clubs that had done so before them. But was it the right thing for the Tigers to do? Absolutely no.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself: Am I against the honoring of all opposing Hall of Fame-caliber players in their final seasons? Actually no. I find there to be reason to honor a player when he has some sort of tie to the Tigers organization or was born and/or raised in Michigan. With that being said, I had no problem whatsoever when the Tigers provided a grand send-off celebration to longtime Yankees shortstop and Michigan’s own Derek Jeter in 2014. I would’ve been right there with former Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski, Mr. Tiger Al Kaline, fellow 1968 World Series champion Willie Horton and former Bronx Bombers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke — yes, they were actually on the field for the pre-game ceremony — to honor the Yankees legend.

Although not born in Michigan, Jeter, who was born in Pequannock, N.J., was raised in Kalamazoo, and played his high school baseball at Kalamazoo Central. If he hadn’t been drafted by the Yanks in the first round of the 1992 amateur draft, he would’ve played collegiately at the University of Michigan. In fact, he took classes in the fall semester of 1992 at U-M, and had planned on taking more classes the following fall before the Yanks asked him to play instructional ball in 1993.

Jeter still supports U-M athletics to this day, and U-M football head man Jim Harbaugh even brought Jeter to a football game last fall at the Big House as a special guest, and presented him with a No. 2 Michigan football jersey.

Thus, it was a foregone conclusion that honoring the five-time World Series champion in his final series at Comerica Park was the right thing to do.

The same can’t be said about honoring Ortiz. Instead, many more reasons of why they shouldn’t have conducted a pre-game ceremony to recognize his career were clearly evident.

First and foremost, he has no Michigan ties, after being born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, he’s never played for the Tigers in his 20-year big league career, and has no known relative who donned a Tigers uniform at any point in time.

The most glaring reason for why he shouldn’t have been honored, though, is the fact that he played a significant role in causing the Tigers to exit the postseason prematurely in 2013.

He came up to bat in the eighth inning of game two of the ALCS, and delivered the most memorable moment of the 2013 postseason and one of the most iconic moments in all of Boston sports history.

With the bases loaded and then-closer Joaquin Benoit pitching, Big Papi smacked a grand slam to right field which just cleared the glove of Torii Hunter, who fell over the RF wall and landed in the BoSox bullpen in his attempt to record what would’ve been the third out. Ortiz’s shot tied up the game at five, and just like that, the momentum in the series had switched over to Boston. The BoSox eventually won the game and won the series in six games.

The moral of the story is that the Tigers were so close to taking a 2-0 series lead into Motown for game three. The dynamic of the series would’ve been entirely different, as the BoSox might’ve started pressing with their backs against the wall and the Tigs probably would’ve played like a more confident bunch the rest of the series. With such being the case, Detroit would’ve probably reached the World Series for a second straight season.

Additionally, if such would’ve occurred, I strongly believe that with the WS experience the club had garnered the previous October, it would’ve had a competitive edge against the NL champion St. Louis Cardinals. And think about how sweet it would have been to get revenge against the club who beat the Bengals in the 2006 World Series.

It would’ve easily been the highlight of my Tigers fandom.

But instead, as Tigers fans, we now have to start considering the possibility that the franchise blew its best chance to capture a championship in this great era of Detroit baseball that began so magically in ’06 with the surprise Fall Classic run.

I’m not just penning this piece to tell you that, though. I’m also and most importantly, trying to remind all of you that the main culprit behind the depressing aforementioned possibility is Big Papi. His clutch bat delivered the potential knockout blow to the club’s World Series hopes for the foreseeable future.

Yet, the Tigers found it fitting to celebrate his career and to provide him with framed photos of the 2005 All-Star Game at CoPa that he played in during a ceremony before game three of the Tigers’ last season series with the Sawx. Give yourself about 30 seconds to think about how much that makes sense from the Tigers’ standpoint.

It simply doesn’t, and trust me, I know there’s another side to this. It’s that “you have to respect Big Papi for his greatness.” However, you don’t have to shower him with love or with a standing ovation, as Tigers fans did in his likely last AB versus the Tigers.

If Michael Jordan would have retired while the Bad Boy Pistons were still intact, I don’t think Bill Laimbeer or Isiah Thomas would have presented MJ with framed photos of anything in his final game at The Palace. The great Pistons’Bulls rivalry was not one known for much respect.

I guess it’s old-school thinking because more professional athletes are buddy-buddy with one another nowadays. However, I still think it’s the kind of thinking that the Tigers should have deployed in deciding whether to provide Ortiz with a parting gift.

It’s why I find no reason to forgive the Tigers for this transgression in the future.