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Big Papi ~ Big Heart

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Big Papi ~ Big Heart

Postby Philliebuster » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:31 pm

Not really fantasy related, but he just got moved up a couple spots on my draft board...

When Justin Allan Rollins learned that he was being deployed to Iraq last year, the soldier had a mission of his own: to see his beloved Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park one last time.

Spec. Rollins saw more than just a game that summer day. He got to meet one of his heroes, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Ortiz signed a ball for him. Later, in the stands, Rollins turned to his father.

Spec. Justin Allan Rollins is mourned by his brother Jonathan Rollins, girlfriend, Brittney Murray, and parents, Mitchel and Rhonda Rollins, at Arlington National Cemetery. Spec. Rollins's "personality was magnetic," a family friend said. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

"He said, 'If David Ortiz hits a home run, I can die a happy man in Iraq,' " recalled Kathryn Hanson, a close family friend. "His father thought it was the most eerie thing he had ever heard."

The Red Sox won that June 24 game against the Phillies -- with a home run by Ortiz. And this month, Rollins, 22, of Newport, N.H., died in Iraq. He was killed March 5 in Samarra, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat.

But even as he was buried yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery, Rollins's memory lived on for the player whose heart he had touched.

Ortiz was so broken up upon learning of Rollins's death that he sent a white No. 34 jersey to the funeral Saturday in Rollins's home town -- with an inscribed baseball he wanted placed inside the coffin. The jersey, displayed at the funeral and wake, contained a dedication to the young soldier: "My deepest condolences to the Rollins family. It was an honor to meet Justin and I will keep him in my prayers. Sincerely, David Ortiz."

Friends said they were not surprised that Rollins had touched Ortiz. "That's the kind of kid Justin was," Hanson said. "His personality was magnetic. He made an impression. David Ortiz meets how many people?"

Ortiz, through a Red Sox spokesman, declined to comment Friday, and Rollins's family could not be reached. The 6-4, 230-pound home run hitter wiped away tears as he talked to a reporter for MLB.com about Rollins.

"He's a young kid, full of life," Ortiz told MLB.com. "Unbelievable, you know. It's just sad."
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Postby LukeW9027 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:37 pm

Great story. Big Papi always seemed like a great guy, this proves it.
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Postby TheA'sFatLeadoffMan » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:48 pm

It's nice to hear athlete's in a positive light with so much of the press focusing on just the opposite, cheers to David, and RIP Justin Allan Rollins.
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Postby RynMan » Thu Mar 22, 2007 2:46 am

There was a great story about it on MLB.com about a week ago. Apparently Ortiz called a reporter over to tell them about the story and was in tears the whole time. He was devastated.

He seems like a real genuine guy.
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Postby BitterDodgerFan » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:02 am

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Postby Snakes Gould » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:35 am

yeah sad story :,-( ...athletes always tend to get a bad rap but this shows that they are just human. good or bad, they're just like us underneath all the money in their pockets.
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Postby pokerplaya » Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:25 am

Sad story.

Refreshing to see an athlete being portrayed in a positive light, though...
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:09 am

Nice to see the real hero get the recognition he deserves.
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Postby Coppermine » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:02 am

Omaha Red Sox wrote:Nice to see the real hero get the recognition he deserves.


I drafted him too; what now Omaha! You're goin' down!
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:32 am

Coppermine wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Nice to see the real hero get the recognition he deserves.


I drafted him too; what now Omaha! You're goin' down!


You drafted Spec. Rollins? 8-o

Then the rest of us don't stand a chance. Enjoy your 12AM Championship season Copper. !+)

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