David Ortiz had deal with Samsung

ByGordon Edes ESPN logo
Thursday, April 3, 2014

BALTIMORE -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz acknowledged Wednesday that he has a promotional deal with Samsung but insisted that his selfie with President Barack Obama on Tuesday was spontaneous and not a marketing stunt.

"When people went crazy over that, you don't get to see anything like that every day," Ortiz said in the clubhouse before the Red Sox took on the Orioles at Camden Yards. "It wasn't anything promotional, anything like that. I mean, who knows that you're going to take a picture with the president? How many people can guarantee that? It was something we don't even have to talk about."

Upon being handed an honorary Red Sox jersey by Ortiz at Tuesday's World Series celebration at the White House, the president pulled Ortiz close to him and motioned toward photographers to "get a good picture."

After the two posed and photographers started snapping away, Ortiz reached into his pocket and asked, "Do you mind if I take another one, with my own?"

"He wants to do a selfie. It's the Big Papi selfie," Obama joked, getting laughs from players and spectators in attendance.

What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama pic.twitter.com/y5Ww74sEID

- David Ortiz (@davidortiz) April 1, 2014Ortiz said Wednesday it was a genuine once-in-a-lifetime moment.

"It just came out right in the moment when I gave him the jersey and he asked to take pictures," Ortiz said. "It was like, 'Oh, wait a minute, let me see if I can get away with this.' I was lucky that I was right there. It was fun. It was something I'll never forget."

Shortly after Ortiz tweeted the photo, which went out to his more than 630,000 followers and was retweeted nearly 40,000 times, Samsung retweeted it as well. The company later told the Boston Globe it "was an honor to help [Ortiz] capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement."

Manager John Farrell, who found himself in the background of the photo, right between the heads of Ortiz and Obama, said he didn't find out until Wednesday that the moment might not have been as organic as it appeared.

"At the time I didn't know it," Farrell said in his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "No one can get closer to the president [than Ortiz was]. When David was on stage and kind of put his arm around [Obama] and put up a phone, it was only a moment that David Ortiz could seemingly pull off.

"I read about it this morning that this was maybe a little brought along by Samsung. ... That didn't take away from a pretty special day."

Was Ortiz afraid the Secret Service might pounce on him as he reached into his pocket for his smartphone?

"We were talking about that afterwards," Ortiz said. "I think it was super cool how everybody at the White House was, how friendly, the person we see on TV, the president we all know, seeing how humble and how cool he was. Every single one of us. It was a great experience. It doesn't get any better."

Samsung famously had viral success during the Oscars last month when host Ellen DeGeneres took a star-studded selfie with her Samsung phone. The comedian gathered a gaggle of A-list stars and had Bradley Cooper take the photo of the group, which she captioned, "If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars"

Less than an hour after she posted it on Twitter, DeGeneres' photo surpassed the previous record of 780,000 retweets of an Obama tweet after his re-election in 2012. The instantaneous surge even caused technical problems for Twitter.

In March, the president teased DeGeneres about her selfie, calling it a "pretty cheap stunt."

Information from ABCNews.com was used in this report.

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