Little Papi basks in Big Papi's shadow

Little Papi basks in Big Papi's shadow

Little Papi basks in Big Papi's shadow
Watch David Ortiz before just about any Red Sox home game, and even on quite a few road trips, and the big man travels with a shadow.

Just about anywhere Big Papi goes, Little Papi follows.

So on Fathers' Day, when the Red Sox are home playing the Milwaukee Brewers, D'Angelo Ortiz won't just have breakfast with his dad, but probably lunch and dinner as well.

Six-year-old D'Angelo Ortiz absorbs the life of professional baseball, being granted a virtual all-access pass to life with the Red Sox. D'Angelo can't be with his dad during the game, but he's there before and after.

Look around the clubhouse before or after a game, and you will often spot D'Angelo.

"He's come to be one of us," David Ortiz said of his son. "He's getting familiar with the business. It's not just only on baseball, it's on everything. When your dad takes you around and you get used to it, it's just like having any other business. You're trying to teach your kid about the business, so when they grow up, they can run it."

Watch Little Papi's around the ballpark, and it isn't hard to imagine he will one day have an adult-sized uniform on, rather than the mini version he wears these days.

During one day in Spring Training, D'Angelo stood on one of the backfields during batting practice and started doing dead-on imitations of just about every player on the Red Sox.

"He loves it," said Ortiz. "I don't tell him anything about it, or how great it is. He knows it. Let me tell you, he knows everything about this ballclub."

D'Angelo Ortiz was born in July 2004, just three months before his father would be a central part of a history-making World Series run.

Three years later, the Red Sox won it all again, and D'Angelo was old enough to be around a little bit, but not to the extent he is these days.

D'Angelo is now at the age where he can be around for most of the pregame and not get in his father's way.

"He watches the game," Ortiz said. "He's a good kid. It's easy for me, him being like that. There's not too much you have to tell him. He's a good kid. He's humble. He's always where he needs to be. I'm proud of him."

In case you haven't guessed, D'Angelo Ortiz yearns to be a Major Leaguer. Perhaps he will suit up for the 2029 Red Sox.

"Yeah, he wants to be a baseball player," David Ortiz said. "Definitely. I hope he does."

But David Ortiz knows that his son needs to keep all his options open.

"He knows he still has to work hard in school," Ortiz said. "Oh yeah, he knows that. He knows that he's got to give me good grades and do what he is told."

Ortiz and his wife Tiffany also have two daughters -- 14-year-old Jessica and 10-year-old Alexandra.

Though he doesn't have the same baseball bond with his daughters that he does with D'Angelo, the relationships are equally meaningful.

"My daughters, I always try to make them happy," Ortiz said.

And even if Ortiz seems to be a larger-than-life figure, he will try to make sure his kids stay as grounded as he is.

"My kids know that they're not going to get anything the easy way," Ortiz said. "They've got to work hard and earn whatever they need, because that's when life means something to you -- you know what I'm saying?"

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.