BOSTON (AP) - The banner hangs from a light pole on the sidewalk outside Fenway Park.
It’s a profile of David Ortiz with that infectious smile and the words “OCTOBER BASEBALL” beneath it.
He is, literally, the face of the Red Sox franchise.
This is, once again, his time of year.
“I don’t think you could ever ask for more out of an individual than what he does on and off the field,” Boston ace Jon Lester said. “The guy’s got a heart of gold.”
And a bat that keeps smacking balls past fielders and over fences.
One win from his third championship in 10 years, Ortiz will take a .733 World Series batting average into Game 6 on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Only Billy Hatcher did better in a single series, .750 in 1990 for the Cincinnati Reds when they swept the Oakland Athletics.
But such World Series displays are nothing new to the only player left from the team that won the Red Sox their first championship in 86 years.
St. Louis saw that on Ortiz’s first at-bat of the 2004 Series when he hit a three-run homer in Boston’s 11-9 win. He batted .308 in a four-game sweep.
The Colorado Rockies saw it in 2007 when he went 3 for 5 in a 13-1 rout in Game 1. That time, he hit .333 in another sweep.
Now, he enters the potential clincher with 11 hits in 15 at-bats in this Series. He has two homers, two doubles, six RBIs, five runs and four walks.
Ortiz has one-third of Boston’s hits against St. Louis, while the rest of the Red Sox are batting .151.
“I was born for this,” he said.
Strikeouts in this Series? None.
And the best designated hitter in baseball even fields flawlessly at first base.