David Ortiz: I may leave Red Sox over "drama"

Player: David Ortiz Position: Designated Hitter Last Team: Boston Red Sox Status: Unrestricted Free Agent Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is congratulated by U.S. Army Rangers Sgt. Lucas Carr after his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning in Boston, Monday, May 2, 2011. Boston won 9-5. Pujols, Fielder on market as free agency opens AP Photo/Charles Krupa

David Ortiz congratulated by U.S. Army Rangers Sgt. Lucas Carr
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is congratulated by U.S. Army Rangers Sgt. Lucas Carr after his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels Francisco Rodriguez during the seventh inning in Boston, Monday, May 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Big Papi may have a flair for the dramatic on the diamond but apparently he could do without all the drama off the field.

In an interview with ESPN on Wednesday, impending free agent David Ortiz said there was "too much drama" on the Red Sox after the team's historic September collapse that triggered the departure of manager Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein. He strongly hinted that he may be wearing a different uniform next year.

"There's too much drama," Ortiz told ESPN. "I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year."

Ortiz, one of the most beloved athletes in Boston history, also expressed some resentment that some in the city have suggested the team should let him go.

"I see a lot of people out there asking the Red Sox to let Papi go, and I don't know why," said Ortiz, who turns 36 next month. "As long as I've been here, I'm just doing my thing."

Ortiz spoke to ESPN a day after the Boston Globe published a salacious report about the team's dysfunction and disunity during the season. Among the article's allegations: Francona may have been "distracted" by marital and health problems; veteran players showed no leadership; and certain pitchers drank beer, ate fast food and played video games in the clubhouse during games rather than be with their teammates in the dugout.

Ortiz told ESPN the clubhouse behavior was nothing new.

"We had that when we won the World Series in 2004," he said. "We had that when we won the World Series in 2007. Beer in the clubhouse, it's always been there. Video games, that's always been there; guys eating fried chicken, that's always been there."

Though he struggled in September, Ortiz had a strong 2011 campaign, hitting .309 with 29 home runs and 96 RBIs. The Red Sox picked up his player option last year, but he has said he wants a multiyear contract. Could such a deal come from the rival Yankees?

"That's something I gotta think about," Ortiz told ESPN of a possible move to the Bronx. "It's great from what I hear. It's a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn't want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?"

David Ortiz in pinstripes? In Boston sports lore, that scenario may well eclipse the curse of the Bambino.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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