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Look! Up in the sky! It's Big Papi

With 46 home runs this season and 18 game-winning hits, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David ''Big Papi" Ortiz has earned millions of Sox fans' love and an inside track to most valuable player honors.

The D'Angelo sub-shop chain has christened a Big Papi sandwich -- consisting of ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise -- in his honor.

And now he's going to get his own airplane.

In a first, Delta Air Lines Inc.'s Song affiliate that offers discount fares and on-board television, is rechristening one of its 48 Boeing 757's Big Papi. Song plans a dedication ceremony at Logan International Airport Tuesday morning with Ortiz to unveil the newly lettered jet. Big Papi is the first Song plane with a name.

Song, which Delta launched in April 2003, has close links to the Sox. Song flies to five Florida destinations from Logan, including Fort Myers, home of the Sox spring training camp. As ''official airline of Sox spring training," Song donates free flights for patients at the Sox-supported Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston to visit spring training and meet players.

The Big Papi plane also will help Song's publicity efforts in Boston, where it launched nonstop service to Los Angeles and San Francisco this month. As Delta grinds through a $28 billion bankruptcy restructuring, it's likely to shift additional flights to the more profitable Song brand.

Song marketing vice president Tim Mapes said naming the plane for Ortiz reflects the fact that ''Boston is one of Song's core markets, and we believe it's important to support the community and the interests that are important to its residents. We know that the Red Sox and fan favorite David Ortiz are clearly at the top of the list, as is The Jimmy Fund, the team's charity."

The Big Papi plane, Mapes added, also reflects ''the Song spirit of having a little fun in the skies."

Peter J. Howe can be reached at

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