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Ortiz: ‘I got that big old monkey off my back’

05.20.09 at 11:24 pm ET
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How did it feel to go deep?

I got that big old monkey off my back, you know? You have to understand, sometimes, that’s all it takes, to have a good at-bat and get a big hit and start clicking.

What did you think of the fan support?

Great, great. That’s the same thing I’ve seen since I’ve been here. The fans, they’ve always been so supportive since I’ve been here. That’s unbelievable. There’s not too much I can say about it. I try to come every day and get it done for them.

Was the subsequent double a good indication that you’re on the right path?

Oh yeah, it’s a good swing. That’s what I’m looking for. To take a good swing every at-bat. Coming out, I put a good swing on the ball, hit a homer, took another good swi ng and struck out and then coming out and taking a good swing for the double, it’s a great feeling.

How much were you pressing while waiting for that homer?

I wasn’t really worried about homers as much as I was worried about getting my swing back because I know when my swing is right there, homers are going to come, regardless. My pressing was from missing pitches that I normally hit or sometimes putting a good swing on it and still missing it. That’s crazy. It gets you thinking and puts you in a situation where you’ll be like, what do I have to do? I’ve tried it all. I was about to hit right-handed.

Did you enjoy your teammates’ reaction?

Oh great. They gave me a minute of silence. I don’t know who thought that up, but I know Pedroia had a lot to do with it. Little (expletive).

How do you feel now?

I’m feeling good, dog. I’m feeling good. Like I said before, that’s the kind of game that gets you going. The biggest thing about the whole situa tion was the fans, man. They’ve been cheering for me every at-bat even when you don’t get it done and next time you come in, it’s the same thing. That means a lot.

Off the bat, what were you thinking?

I hit it good, dog. I always hit it to the wrong place.

Were you worried after you started with a couple of rough at-bats?

My father, flew in yesterday. He’s the kind of guy, since I was a kid, he always keeps me positive. It was a loose day at my house today. He was playing with my son and all that kind of stuff. One thing he told me that I kept in mind today was he told me, hey, son, you’re not going to get worse then this. Go out there and have fun and forget about what h appened in the past. Just go out there and do what you have to do.

What were you thinking when you crossed home plate?

I always thank God for everything, all the good gifts that he has given me in my whole life. Every time I hit a homer, I think about him putting myself together to get it done. I believe that tonight he deserved more time than what I normally do, just because I always believe that he always puts you in a kind of situation to see how  fast you give up on him. When he don’t see you giving up, that means you believe in him no matter what, no matter how bad you struggle. That’s all I was thinking about.

Did you feel different in your next trips to the plate?

Oh yeah. I feel like I got all my confidence back. Let me tell you. I look out there like a real hitter, not like the punch and judy I have been for the first 40 games.

What did you think of the silent treatment you received in the dugout and then the celebration?

I deserved it. I deserved it.

Some of them were like, ‘What take you so long?’ I told them, though, if you guys are going to start bombing everyone like you did after me, you guys should have let me know early. I would have got it done earlier.

How much have your teammates meant during the struggle?

My teammates are the best, man. It’s something that we have built up around here, man.

I look at their faces when I’m not doing good, and they look at me like, ‘Hey—hang in there. We’re right behind you.’ I’ve got so much support from everyone here that I can’t even break it down for you. That’s how it is here. I’m the kind of guy that I never forget my teammates. I always try to help them one way or another, and everybody is the same way. That chemistry has been going around here for so long. You see guys struggling and you know they’ll bounce back.

What did you do differently today?

Swing like a man, not like a little (expletive). (Laugh)

Was that the biggest relief you ever felt?

It feel good. It feel good. I’m just going to maintain it that way. I figured something out tonight that I’m going to keep on trying to do. It was just from one at-bat to another.

Might sleep well tonight.

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