Ortiz remembered as hero in Dominican Republic
HAINA, Dominican Republic (WHDH) -- In David Ortiz’s hometown of Haina in the Dominican Republic his aunt, Esperanza Arias, said the Sox Slugger was fascinated by baseball from a young age.
“When he was growing up, he would play baseball with bottle caps. He would play anywhere on the street or the neighborhood with his friends. He was always looking for a baseball because he always wanted to be a baseball player,” Arias said.
Ortiz’s cousin Maritza Gira said she is more than family, she’s Ortiz’s biggest fan.
“Just incredible to see that someone who grew up with you and God gave him that blessing of being where he is. It's wonderfully incredible,” Gira said.
Everyday children can be seen in the fields around the city playing baseball and dreaming as making it as big as their idol.
Ortiz himself used to plan on those fields and where his former coach first saw him.
“One day I saw him hitting a ball and I told him ‘you're going to play in the Big Leagues.,’" the coach said.
Across the Dominican Republic news of Ortiz’s success has been on the front page, but those who grew up with him said the victory was personal.
“He knows that we love him here, especially Rafaela. Rafaela loves him and adores him, William, all of his people here in the neighborhood,” a neighbor said.
Relatives say Ortiz hasn't visited Haina since 2002. That's when his mother died there in a traffic accident. But many people say they hope Ortiz returns soon so that the entire town can celebrate the success of its local hero.