“…Tendencies, angles, mechanics. I think I can read who can pitch and who cannot, I think the situation is right. I think they need people like me that could probably relate to the players, relate to the office – have the good communication and trust that they need right now. I think the players somehow see me a little bit like a player and they can actually communicate with me. I’m also a veteran – a real old veteran. I think I can probably offer some advise to some of them about how to handle different situations…I believe if I can have the patience to look at the talent that’s coming up and understand they’re going to be they’re own way, I should be able to handle it. I’m not going to force them to be like me…hopefully, you can help out.” – Pedro Martinez commenting to CSNNE.com on his hiring by the Red Sox as a Special Assistant.
First a disclaimer, I love Pedro Martinez. Always have. His 2000 season, one of the most dominant in Major League Baseball history, ushered in the beginning of some special sauce that the Red Sox had previously been missing. It was a swagger born not of arrogance but of supreme confidence and talent. Pedro during his years in Boston was a take no prisoners, take your hacks and sit down, shutdown force of nature.
Over 18 seasons Martinez posted a lifetime 2.93 ERA. While in Boston from 1998 to 2004 he posted a 2.50 ERA and averaged 17 wins against just 5 losses per season.
In 2000 Pedro took it to another level with a sick 1.74 ERA, an 18-6 record, 217 innings pitched and 284 Ks. Righteous!
When Don Zimmer (aka the Gerbil, a moniker hung on him by Bill Lee) as an old man charged Pedro during a storied Yankees/Red Sox brawl, Pedro pushed Zimmer to the ground and the press momentarily lost its collective mind. I applauded Pedro’s move. Zimmer’s charge was stupid, period. Pedro didn’t deck him. He didn’t stomp him. There was no intent to hurt him. He simply pushed an old man doing a dumb thing to the ground and in the process kept Zimmer from really hurting himself.
Then there’s the title: Special Assistant. He’s not the pitching coach. He’s not the assistant pitching coach. Pedro will get to freelance his role; role your own so to speak. As long as he can walk the line between Farrell and Boston’s management team, it’s hard to imagine that his contagious enthusiasm and savvy aren’t going to pay dividends. The move is genius.
Boston is making some things happen, not just related to the Xs and Os of trades, player development and the mechanics of the game. With the hirings of Jason Varitek and now Pedro Martinez, Boston is poised to reinvigorate the franchise with two players that meant as much to breaking the curse in leadership roles as any. It won’t happen overnight and it will take some luck but you can’t say the Red Sox aren’t trying. Baseball, as much as any sport, takes a special mix of smarts, backbone, foresight and mystique. Pedro Martinez fits neatly into all four categories. Sox!
Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed, haven’t much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy
The boys are back in town
The boys are back in town
- The Boys Are Back In Town, Thin Lizzy