By Beth Treffeisen
Around Fenway Park, fans, residents and visitors will now have a number of ways to pay tribute to the soon-to-retire Red Sox hitter David Ortiz or to fans known as Big Papi.
As part of a joint-plan between the House, Senate and Governor’s office, the House Committee on Ways and Means Committee put language out to poll as part of a supplemental budget that would rename the Brookline Avenue bridge to the David Ortiz “Big Papi” bridge.
The bridge is located between Landsowne Street and Newbury Street, spanning the Massachusetts Turnpike. It currently serves as a main entry point for many fans that travel from the Kenmore area on their way to Fenway Park.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will place a suitable marker on the bridge bearing the designation that will be compliance with the standards of the department.
“David Ortiz’s accomplishments and heroics on and off the baseball field have made him a living legend, and his heartfelt contributions to the communities here and in his native Dominican Republic have made him an icon,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement.
He continued, “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I am thrilled to be able to help out Commonwealth create a lasting ‘Thank you’ to Big Papi through the renaming of this bridge.”
This measure is currently being held in the Senate and is awaiting a final decision.
“We thank the Governor and legislators involved in planning this thoughtful tribute to David and look forward to celebrating his career with all of New England at Fenway Park,” said President Sam Kennedy of the Red Sox.
Ceremonies put on by the Club included focusing on the work that Ortiz has down with children, highlighting what he has meant to New England and Boston, paying tribute to his career and thanking him for bringing three World Series Championships to Boston.
At a pre-game ceremony honoring Ortiz at Fenway Park this past Sunday, October 2., Mayor Walsh and the Boston Red Sox proposed the “David Ortiz Drive.”
“David Ortiz is a true Bostonian and he embodies the spirit of our great City,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “I am proud that the City of Boston is able to honor his career and legacy with the Red Sox and show our gratitude for all of his contributions to our community and beyond.”
The street under consideration is currently called Yawkey Way Extension that connects Maitland Street and Brookline Ave.
It is a new street built in 2013 that was given a temporary name. It currently serves as an important connection between Fenway Park and the Yawkey train station. Lining the street is a pedestrian plaza that holds all the retired numbers of Red Sox greats.
All street name changes need to be approved by the City of Boston’s Public Improvement Commission. The PIC expects to hear the petition from the Red Sox formally requesting this name change before opening day 2017.