Writer Dayn Perry recently interviewed Pedro about a variety of topics. As is always the case with a Martinez interview, it is an entertaining read:
Dayn Perry: Although Game 2 of the 2009 World Series wasn’t your last game, I think that’s one of the things people are going to remember about the tail end of your career–a great effort against the Yankees and that smile you cracked while walking off the field. Why were you smiling at that moment?I don't think Pedro is totally wrong here. As Reggie Jackson once said, fans don't boo nobodies. And Martinez was the greatest Yankee nemesis of his generation. He played the villain very, very well against the Yankees. The fact he's intelligent and has a quick wit also helped add to his mystique.Watching the Yankees beat him -- twice -- in the World Series last year was great fun.
Pedro Martinez: I was realizing that New York wanted to clap for me, but I was wearing the wrong uniform. They wanted to show me respect, and I knew that, and I loved it. If you understand baseball, the more they boo you, chant your name, the more respect there is.
I was trying to think of a current player who can rouse Yankee fans' ire the way Martinez did, and I couldn't really come up with anybody that the fan base loved to hate the way it was with Pedro. ESPN's Bill Simmons had a piece last week about how the Red Sox players are boring these days. I thought the article was mostly pretty whiny. For one thing, Simmons seems to have been more of a fan of the Red Sox's past mystique via misery and masochism, than an actual Boston fan.
But it's also true that there is no current Red Sox villain on the level of Pedro Martinez. Jonathan Papelbon is my least favorite Red Sox, but even many Boston fans are tired of his act. And while lots of Yankee fans dislike Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, neither of them get under Bombers fans' skin the way Pedro did.
Here's some more from the Pedro Martinez interview about his thoughts on the Yanks:
DP: Have you thought about pitching for the Yankees?Imagine Pedro in pinstripes, and what an outcry there would have been in Yankeeland!
PM: I thought about it a couple of times in my career. I was a Yankee fan growing up, a Reggie Jackson fan. I had a couple of opportunities to pitch for the Yankees, but it never worked out.
There was talk in the past week about how the Yankees supposedly nearly traded for Mike Lowell. He's one of the few Red Sox who wouldn't have caused a complete uproar in coming to the Bronx. Of course, he was once a Yankee, so that might have something to do with it.
Our Red Sox fan readers will appreciate this tidbit from the interview:
DP: Do you miss Dan Shaughnessy?
PM: No, no, no. That’s the only thing I don’t miss about Boston. I’m pretty sure other players feel that way, too.