Pedro Martinez hopes to get the second ring of his HOF career. (SI Photo)
Tonight should be a special night for Pedro Martinez - win, lose, or draw. Pedro has long been the number one villain of NYY fans, and it's a role he's relished for over a decade now. I give Pedro a lot of the credit for really turning around the fortunes of the Red Sox as a franchise as a whole, and this is credit he rarely receives. Ever since the Red Sox traded for him in 1997 they have erased stigmas and sterotypes that used to surround the franchise like a rotten stench. He's the player who finally gave the Sox a cockiness and confidence that got them over the World Series hump, and made players want to actually play in Boston once again. I've written it a bunch, but Pedro is one of my all-time favorite players, and in my opinion - he's the best pitcher ever to play for the Sox.
Having Pedro pitch a World Series game during the twilight of his career in Yankee Stadium seems just about right. He's been such a polarizing figure in that town, it's almost as if there's been a magnetic force continuously drawing him and his career to the city that doesn't sleeps. Add on top of this the motivation of why he's still playing the game of baseball, and it all seems downright storybook, but as we know already - Pedro's always had a flair for the dramatic. The below is from a Sports Illustrated article written by Tom Verducci and it speaks volumes:
Martinez's father, Pablo Jaime, developed brain cancer in 2008 during the last of Martinez's four years with the Mets, a tenure marked by injuries and unfulfilled expectations: Pedro won 32 games while earning $53 million. A frail Pablo told his son during one visit in July 2008, that he wanted him to continue playing baseball. Pedro flew back to rejoin the Mets. Three days later, his father was dead. "Those were his last words to me," Martinez says. "Today it's all for him and his wishes."
Sounds like some pretty good motivation to me, however - as we all know, once the game starts all the things on the peripheral don't really matter anymore. Still, it's a touching story, and one I take to heart for reasons that are too close for comfort or solace. In the end it's just a baseball game tonight, albeit a World Series baseball game, but whenever Pedro's on the mound, it always seems like it's so much more then a game - it's an event you have to watch, and we're all damn lucky to have him in the spotlight one last time, win, lose, or draw