Cheyenne Boy Is Praying For His Hero, Big Papi
Sports fans around the world are praying for David "Big Papi" Ortiz after the Boston Red Sox legend was shot last night. Nobody is praying harder than Maverick Schutte. The Cheyenne boy, who celebrates his 10th birthday tomorrow, made national headlines in 2016 when he met Ortiz at Fenway Park in Boston. Now, Maverick's family is sending their support to his friend and hero.
"David once told Maverick "stay strong", so now we send our words of encouragement and tell Papi "stay strong", Maverick's mom Marti Linnane posted on Facebook.
Their friendship began when Ortiz' former teammate and current MLB Network host Kevin Millar heard about the boy from Cheyenne who was born with a congenital heart defect. The Red Sox flew Maverick to Boston, where his favorite player helped him throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park. Their meeting was documented by the MLB Network special "Maverick's Dream", which won the 2016 award for MLB's Best Player-Fan Interaction.
Later that year, Maverick flew back to Boston to see Big Papi's last game. Ortiz and Maverick then reunited in 2017 when they were honored with the Courage Award at the Children and Athletes Regenerative Medicine Foundation Gala in Boston.
Ortiz was shot in the back last night at a nightclub in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors reportedly removed his gallbladder and parts of his colon and liver.
"Doctors say he is out of danger, but he is heavily sedated and will be in intensive care for the next 24 hours," Ortiz family spokesman Leo Lopez told ESPN.