David Ortiz, affectionately known by his fans as “Big Papi”, played his final Major League Baseball game Monday night when his Boston Red Sox fell to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series playoffs. We caught up with the three-time World Series champ, 10-time All-Star and Red Sox single-season home run record-holder – and Coca-Cola ambassador – days before his official retirement.

What has this season been like for you, knowing it would be your last? Have you approached each game, each at-bat, differently?

I never approached anything differently. Not even my last game, I approached it as if I was 100 percent going to be playing the next day. I keep a routine, and I think that can explain some of my success late in my career.

As a designated hitter, how do you stay focused and motivated between at-bats? Any dugout or on-deck circle rituals?

Not necessarily rituals as much as preparation. I am constantly watching film before, during and after games. I take pride in my preparation. Since I’m the DH, while my team is on the field, I’m usually in the cage under the stadium getting extra cuts in so I’m always ready to go when it’s my turn up.

David Ortiz

Credit: Marc Andrew Stephens

What will you miss most about baseball and, specifically, stepping up to the plate at Fenway?

One word, fans. I mean no disrespect when I say I truly believe Red Sox Nation is the best group of fans in the world. I will miss the love they gave me everywhere I went, especially when stepping up to the plate.

You were part of three World Series-winning teams and hold several batting records. What is your proudest on-field accomplishment?

I’d have to say 2004, when we reversed the curse. The Yankees series is something I will never forget. Again, I mean no disrespect when I say that when we came back and beat the Yankees, we knew we were going to take down St. Louis, too.

David Ortiz and son

Credit: Julie Cordeiro

What did the recent Coca-Cola photo shoot with your son mean to you?

It meant a lot. Just recently, he’s been starting to get on camera a bit and he’s a natural, but he hasn’t been in something with a brand as iconic as Coca-Cola. So as a father, I was happy to introduce him not only to a top-level production, but to my friends at Coke.

Do you have an earliest, or favorite, Coca-Cola memory or moment?

I would have to say having my own bottle is my favorite Coca-Cola memory. Come on, how many celebrities have their own Coke bottle? I have it displayed in my house, too… that was pretty cool.

David Ortiz

Credit: Marc Andrew Stephens

Why do Coca-Cola and baseball, and specifically Red Sox baseball, go hand in hand?

Has to be that big sign at Fenway Park. That thing is iconic. It’s been there longer than Papi has! I’ll miss seeing it in the background when I’m at the plate.

What will retirement for David Ortiz look like? How will your next chapter read? What are you most looking forward to?

Definitely looking forward to some quality time with the family. I won’t have to go anywhere or leave early, I can finally just relax with my wife and kids and enjoy the time. My next chapter is a bit blurry, but I definitely have some new business endeavors up my sleeve that I’ll keep secret for now.