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David Ortiz: News of bombing, Martin Richard death ‘devastated me’

04.16.13 at 5:08 pm ET

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The news hit home for David Ortiz, in more ways than one.

First came word of Monday’€™s bombing, near a place he had been just hours before. Then something came the next wave of emotion — a boy the same age as his own son, 8-year-old D’€™Angelo, had been killed.

‘€œLast night I had problems sleeping just thinking about it and this morning I woke up, watching the news and I heard about this 8-year-old kid waiting for his dad at the finish line ‘€¦ dying ‘€¦ his sister getting hurt and his mom having surgery today. That devastated me,’€ said Ortiz following his rehab appearance with the PawSox at McCoy Stadium Tuesday afternoon.

‘€œI put myself in the same place. It’€™s horrible. It’€™s horrible. It’€™s a beautiful nation and I think our President will get to the bottom of this and make sure this country goes back to what it’€™s always, been, a safe place to be and what everybody wants it to be, a happy place like all of us know.”

Upon hearing the news regarding Dorchester’€™s Martin Richard — who was killed waiting for friends to finish the Boston Marathon (initial reports mistakenly indicated he was watching his father run) — Ortiz immediately called all members of his family. D’€™Angelo was on Cape Cod with family friends, while the designated hitters’€™ wife, Tiffany, was with his daughter, Alex, on a missions trip for Unicef.

‘€œWhen I was watching the news I definitely called all of them,’€ he said. ‘€œI heard my son’€™s voice on the phone and, man, just thinking about how that went down. To hear about this 8-year-old kid, and my son is 8 right now, that just devastated me. I got very emotional. I had people calling me from my country asking me about this whole thing. My phone didn’€™t stop yesterday.’€

An emotional Ortiz was clearly affected the events Monday afternoon, just more than 24 hours later. And, evidently, his had even spilled over to D’€™Angelo.

‘€œHe was concerned. They know,’€ Ortiz said of his son. ‘€œToday’€™s communication is very simple. They know and they get concerned about it, especially when they hear somebody their age is hurt. It was pretty bad. It’€™s going to take us some time to recover from that. The one thing I want to tell everyone is to stay together. This is a tough time that everybody needs to stay together. Yesterday was the biggest example of what this country is all about. That thing went off and you see nothing but everyone helping out each other. That’€™s why God bless America.’€

Added Ortiz regarding the tragedy: ‘€œHorrible, man. Everybody knows that. It’€™s something that nobody expects and nobody wants to see. This beautiful nation going through a situation like that is something that will stay in our minds and is hard to process. Hopefully our President and everybody in charge with this gets to the bottom of this and stops people walking around the city freaking out, not feeling safe. I know our police department and everybody does a pretty good job about it. This is a beautiful nation. A day like yesterday, it’€™s a big day for all of us. That marathon we have going on, Patriots Day, it’€™s something that’€™s beautiful. It’€™s beautiful. People trying to raise money to help people out, it’€™s something that all of us, one way or another, are related with. I’ve been in Boston 11 or 12 years, and it’€™s a day everybody looks forward to. Going through a tragedy like yesterday is devastating. I’ve been pretty much very emotional with the situation and I just want to keep praying for those families affected by it and sending a message to stay strong, stay together. That’€™s all you can do.’€

And while some are suggesting that the incident will put the Red Sox‘€™ season in a different light, one with saddled with more importance to do the proximity of the organization, Ortiz insisted the two worlds should be separated.

‘€œThis is something I don’€™t relate what we do or anything else. This is something that is our nation,’€ said Ortiz, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008. ‘€œThis is our country suffering a pain. It doesn’€™t matter how many games you win. It doesn’€™t matter how many homers you hit. It doesn’€™t matter what happens on the field. We’€™re suffering. It’€™s something that there are a lot of families out there struggling right now because of that and we have to be concerned about it. We’€™re humans.

‘€œThis is a great country. I’€™m very proud of being part of this country. Myself, my family, all of us. This country gives us the opportunity to give my family a better future and I love this country. I will do anything for this country. To see things struggling that way, it gets into your feelings. You’€™ve got family. You’€™ve got kids here growing up. You depend on everything that is going on. You don’€™t want to see anything like that.’€

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