If Fenway Park were an actual person, it would be the face of this franchise. But the next-closest thing is Big Papi, a man with a presence every bit as mammoth as the Green Monster. Is it The Smile? The electric current that rips through Fenway as Ortiz stomps toward home plate? The 54 homers he whomped last year? The back-to-back RBI titles? The Jordan-esque ability this man has to own what seems like every Big Moment? Oh, it's all of that, actually. But it's also more than that. David Ortiz just has a way of embracing everything there is to embrace about the team he plays for and the people who worship that team. That way has turned the Red Sox into his team and Boston into his town.
It's right there in the smile. Or, you know, those clutch home runs. David Ortiz slipped easily and quickly into the hearts of Red Sox fans, bringing them exactly what they had pined for 86 years, and he did it with a flash of those teeth and a style all his own. (Who else could pull off a suit with his initials and a scorpion drawn in sequins on the back of the jacket?) But, still, it's more than the hits (and there have been many). It's more than the timeliness of those hits. It's the charisma with which Ortiz not only plays the game, but lives his life. His is the name called from the stands. His is the jersey worn. His face, though, is not just the face of the Red Sox at this point. His face, wide and expressive and gap-toothed, rising above that everyman body, has become the face of all of baseball. And no Red Sox fan could complain about that.
Tim Wakefield is more than the face of the Boston Red Sox. He's the conscience, the goodwill, the heart and the soul. He's the part of the brain that tells you to throw that extra quarter in the Salvation Army bucket because, really, what the heck are you going to do with it anyway? This is a guy who hangs out at the Jimmy Fund to meet with sick kids because he wants to, not because the camera crews happen to be there that day. And in this era of the pro athlete as pompous, insufferable morons, Wakefield is the anti-Bonds. When he gave up Aaron Boone's home run to end the 2003 ALCS -- a situation he should have never been in at all -- he took it all on his shoulders. He may not be the best player the Sox ever had -- heck, he's not even the best pitcher to ever don the Boston uni -- but his consistency, longevity and "team first, me second" attitude have helped make him perhaps the most beloved.
For me the Green Monster is the face of this franchise. The runner-up would probably be David Ortiz since Big Papi has become the epitome of clutch the past few seasons. The Monster gets the nod here though because of its history and coolness factor. I know as a player there wasn't much cooler than walking onto the field and seeing the Monster in left field. The history that surrounds that wall is amazing. How many great players have hit off that wall or played balls off it. Adding to its mystique is the fact that two of the best hitters in the history of the game (Manny Ramirez and Ted Williams) patrolled it for the Sox.