Three years ago, in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Red Sox designated hitter informed Fenway Park, and any terrorists listening, “This is our f—ing city.” In the immediate aftermath of deadlier attacks on Brussels Tuesday, Barack Obama called Big Papi’s big F-bomb one of his favorite moments that occurred during his presidency.
“One of my proudest moments as president was watching Boston respond after the marathon and when Ortiz went out and said, probably the only time that America didn’t have a problem with cursing on live TV, when he talked about how strong Boston was and was not going to be intimidated,” Obama told ESPN. “And that is the kind of resilience and the kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists.”
Obama’s remarks came during the broadcast of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. Obama attended the game with Raul Castro, and briefly joined ESPN’s crew.
Obama has not always thought so highly of Ortiz.
Ortiz famously clowned Obama by taking a selfie with him at the White House as part of a Samsung campaign. Teammate Jonny Gomes interjected, “Cha-ching,” when Ortiz snapped the picture during the Red Sox visit after winning the 2013 World Series. Samsung then tweeted the picture out to five million followers as a promotional ploy for a device. White House press secretary Jay Carney scolded Big Papi, saying that “the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes.”
“I did take a lot of pictures of the White House, but it wasn’t anything on purpose. Went around like everyone else,” Ortiz innocently told the Boston Globe. “You don’t get a chance to get a photo with the president every day.”
ESPN, perhaps imagining Obama commissioner of Major League Baseball rather than merely president, asked whether any thought was given to cancelling Tuesday’s game in light of the terrorist attacks in Belgium.
“It’s always a challenge when you’ve got a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24-7 news coverage, you want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation,” Obama told the ESPN audience. “But the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives.”