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Will Big Papi call his shot?

May 25, 2008|From the Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- David Ortiz is used to the New York Yankees not wanting him around.

As part of All-Star game festivities this summer at Yankee Stadium, the Boston Red Sox slugger is slated to take part in a "Call Your Shot" promotion in which a fan gets to pick where they want Big Papi to clear the fence.

That is, unless the Yankees talk Major League Baseball out of letting him do it on the day of the Home Run Derby.

"I don't know about the Yankees. I don't really care," Ortiz said Friday before Boston opened a weekend series against the Oakland Athletics. "It's good [the promotion]. That's why I'm doing it. I don't know if it will happen."

The event is sponsored by MLB along with State Farm, which finances the Home Run Derby. The Yankees were discussing whether they wanted Ortiz to take part in such a deal -- though it ultimately might not be up to them.

"We've been in communication with Major League Baseball," Yankees president Randy Levine said Friday. "We're having a discussion on the topic."

Whatever happens, Ortiz liked the idea of this promotion. And he certainly understands the pressure the Yankees must feel to pull off a perfect All-Star game so Yankee Stadium goes out in style.

Even if the Midsummer Classic is supposed to be about fun and a brief break from the grind of a 162-game season.

"I think the Yankees are going through a lot of things, so it might bother them for a minute," he said. "I have no control over that."

Big Papi, who entered the weekend with a team-leading 10 homers, says he can't remember ever calling his own shot before -- but believes that Babe Ruth probably once did so. If Ortiz were to do it, he'd probably say right-field seats, "but it depends how I feel that day."

His teammates were amused by the latest development in the heated rivalry between the AL East foes.

"It's just another way to get some stories about Red Sox-Yankees -- no Red Sox players are going to do something special at Yankee Stadium without our approval," Boston's Sean Casey said. "If it's good for baseball it's good for baseball -- Yankees, Red Sox, whoever. I'm sure the Yankees don't look at it that way, though, especially with the whole Ortiz jersey thing."

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