July 10, 2012

David Ortiz’s typical exuberance was muted, even in the midst of an All-Star season.

His spirit could fairly be pegged as the latest casualty to manager Bobby Valentine’s presence.

Ortiz was the last member of the 2004 World Champions, affectionately known as “The Idiots.”

Anyone referring to Valentine’s idiocy was doing so with no affection. His Red Sox tenure was comical and devastating. While .500 at the All-Star break, the season hit bottom at its finish, 69-93, the worst since 1966.

Boston Globe beat writer Peter Abraham, interviewing Ortiz before the All Star Game at Kansas City, reported that the haze of frustration that now hung low, particularly at Ortiz’s corner locker in the home clubhouse.

“That’s where Youk was,” said Ortiz during a recent homestand, pointing to a locker then assigned to Brent Lillibridge, a journeyman utility man in the middle of a resoundingly forgettable career.

When the Red Sox shipped Youkilis to the White Sox, receiving Lillibridge and journeyman reliever Zach Stewart in return, ““That’s when it really hit me that I’m the last one left,” Ortiz said.

“The Red Sox are not the Red Sox without him,” Jonathan Papelbon said.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Valentine’s reign of error had a one-season expiration date. Ortiz played through the nightmare and, bulked up his Hall of Fame bona fides, and helped the Red Sox win two more World Series.

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