Boston strong: Papi honored for impact on city

Sports stars, Boston Marathon bombings survivors, Frates take part in ceremony

Boston strong: Papi honored for impact on city

BOSTON -- David Ortiz's impact on the city of Boston was the focus of Saturday night's ceremony before a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park, the second of three ceremonies that will take place this weekend in the slugger's final regular-season series for the Red Sox.

To capture the moment, the Red Sox invited players from the NFL's Patriots, the NBA's Celtics and the NHL's Bruins, who have also won championships during this magical era for Boston sports Ortiz has played in over the last 14 seasons.

The grand-finale ceremony will be prior to Sunday's 3:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays, and will be streamed live on The Red Sox urge fans to be in their seats by 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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The Bruins were represented by two of the best defensemen of all time in Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque. The Patriots trotted out Hall of Famer Andre Tippett and former defensive back Ty Law.

The Celtics took a different approach, as their entire current roster took the field, led by head coach Brad Stevens and guard Isaiah Thomas -- all of them wearing jerseys that had Ortiz's No. 34 on the back.

Papi honored by Boston sports

But as anyone who has followed Ortiz's career knows, his impact on the community has transcended sports and taken on a more personal level.

Ortiz became a civic icon with his impassioned speech at Fenway Park in the first game after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. And as part of Saturday's ceremony, three survivors from that harrowing time -- Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes and Jeff Bauman -- greeted Ortiz, who lit up when he saw them.

On Aug. 27, 2011, Ortiz promised a sick child named Allison Lundy that he would hit a home run for her on her 10th birthday. He made good on the promise. Sadly, Allison died four months later. But her family was part of Big Papi's ceremony on Saturday.

Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball captain who spearheaded the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has raised millions of dollars for ALS, took part also.

The community heroes all joined together behind the mound for a ceremonial first pitch.

Playing on wet grounds Saturday, Ortiz went 1-for-2 with a walk and came out for pinch-runner Travis Shaw after his hard single to right in the fifth.

Big Papi singles, gets ovation

Ortiz has managed sore feet since 2012, which is the main reason he is retiring at the end of the season.

"You know, after he grounded out, obviously we know what he's dealing with, and under the conditions tonight and the way he got down the line in that second at-bat, we felt like three [plate appearances] was enough here tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

The Red Sox are excited to see Ortiz's final ceremony on Sunday. It will also be an important game, as Boston will enter the day a half-game behind the Indians for home field in their upcoming American League Division Series matchup.

"It's going to be special," said Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. "I think it's just special to be in the same clubhouse with him in his last year. Seeing his last regular-season game and hopefully a lot more in the postseason will be special."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.