Looking back at the week in news

From David Ortiz to Big Papi, the evolution of a Sox icon

Nobody saw it coming. Especially not the Minnesota Twins, the team that released David Ortiz following the 2001 baseball season.

He was a first baseman then and had spent five undistinguished seasons in Minnesota. There was no reason to think he was going to come to become a New England sports icon when the Red Sox took a flier on him for relatively short money prior to the 2002 season.

But Ortiz, who announced on Wednesday that he would retire when the 2016 season is over, has become exactly that since being plucked off the scrap heap.

After hitting just 58 home runs for the Twins, Ortiz has clubbed 445 for the Red Sox and stands to finish in the same career home run neighborhood as Ted Williams, who retired with 521 homers and a reputation in these parts as the greatest hitter who ever lived.

David Ortiz is no Ted Williams, but he carved out a different niche for himself and acquired the nickname "Big Papi" for his larger-than-life personality. When he retires, he’ll go down in history as one of – maybe the – best clutch hitters who ever lived.

Now, some baseball stat mavens claim there is no such thing as a clutch hitter – a player with a knack for producing big hits in especially important situations – but Sox fans know different.

"We feel pretty good when David Ortiz is hittin’ in the clutch," former Red Sox manager Terry Francona once said on "60 Minutes."

Yeah, nobody saw David Ortiz coming, but everybody will hate to see Big Papi go.

Putting up protective netting would be prudent for MLB

It appears that Major League Baseball is moving toward putting up netting at ballparks to protect fans from flying bats and balls.

It’s a prudent move, given how close many seats are to the field and how distracted fans are these days.

It’s a development that was probably helped along by the horrible scene that unfolded last June at Fenway Park in Boston, when a fan was struck by a piece of flying bat.

She survived, thankfully, but it demonstrated that teams probably need to provide more protection to fans seated near the field.

Some fans will gripe, but it’s best for teams to act now, rather than waiting for the worst to happen.

How did Vermont land all that beachfront property?

Presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign provided a good chuckle this week when it released a map to highlight the states whose governors have taken a stand against Syrian refugees.

It would have to be Geography Awareness Week, wouldn’t you know, because Carson’s cartographer completely butchered the locations for five of the six New England states.

Only Vermont was in the right place, though in Carson’s rendition it no longer shares a border with New Hampshire. Instead, it is bordered on the east by Connecticut – that’s the state, not the river – and a huge stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Beachfront property in Vermont? Who knew?

Carson’s New England also moved Maine and New Hampshire about 150 miles north, into Canada.

Can we still root for the Bruins?

As it happened, Carson was in the Granite State on Friday to file his papers to appear on the ballot in the New Hampshire Primary next year.

Wonder if he had to stop for directions.