Autograph-crazed fans prove David Ortiz is most wanted man in Red Sox camp

Mike Petraglia
February 18, 2014 - 4:07 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After chilling with his nine-year-old son D'Angelo on the first-base side bench of Field 1 Tuesday morning, David Ortiz decided it was time to satisfy some of the fans that had made the trip to JetBlue Park and the home of Red Sox spring training. First, he gave a high-five to a string of about 20 VIP fans and guests that passed through the bench area on the first base side. Then, on his way back to the conditioning fields, he took 10 minutes to sign autographs for about 50 crazed fans that were testing the integrity of an interlocked metal barricade. One fan brought a champagne bottle from a celebration from the 2013 World Series run, with several names already decorating the souvenir. "David, David, please sign my champagne bottle!" one fan begged repeatedly. "Right on the label," shouting directions at the Red Sox slugger. Ortiz at spring training is always a treat because those around him never know what he might say in an unguarded moment, like when he spoke about the possibility of major league baseball some day in his native Dominican Republic. "I'll tell you what, some facilities down there are already MLB [caliber]," he said. "I hear [MLB] is thinking about having the 2017 [season] opener between the Red Sox and Yankees." Ortiz was reminded that he would be 41 at that point. "Hey, you never know," Ortiz said with a smile. Ortiz, with his agent Fern Cuza in town Tuesday, is looking for an extension of one year to his current $30 million deal that ends after this season. Ortiz made another friend on Tuesday when he entertained Casey Browne, the son of and beat writer Ian Browne, for several minutes on his right while D'Angelo sat on his left. Most of the media will get their piece of Ortiz on Wednesday when he is expected to formally address his future with the Red Sox on the park bench outside the Red Sox clubhouse.