Friday, August 6, 2010

Pedro Martinez sez Yankee fans wanted to cheer for him

Here's something to get Yankee fans fired up, just in time for this weekend's Boston Red Sox series. In a recent interview, former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez talked about how Yankee fans really, really like him (or at least respect him), and the one Boston writer he won't miss.

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?

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 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.

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?

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.
Imagine Pedro in pinstripes, and what an outcry there would have been in Yankeeland!

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.


Uncle Mike said...

No villains on the Sox? Opuhleez. The Fat Man is still there, with his scarlet letter S, and that don't stand for "Sox." As long as Papelbum is there, he's our John Rocker, although Rocker might have been a little smarter. Youk is out with a strained keister, I mean a torn muscle in his thumb, but he's a whiny little braying donkey (if I can't use the word I'd prefer) for whom we'll always have contempt. Did I forget anyone? Yeah, Super Punk Beckett.

I'm not surprised Dayn Perry bent over backwards to make Pedro look like a good guy, after that biography he recently published about Reggie Jackson, where he managed to make just about everybody associated with the Yankees (with the notable exceptions of Catfish Hunter and Ron Guidry) look like the Gomorrah City Council.

BklynSoxFan said...

Thanks for that Pedro quote on the Curly Haired Bastard, Lisa. Just put it on my blog...

Anonymous said...

Pedro always lived in his own little world ..I for one never wanted him on the Yankees.

As for now ..I can't stand Beckett. I very rarely say awful things about players but I consider him just a nasty little punk. That smug look on his face when he hits a player and his indignation when anyone retaliates makes me crazy. After him would be Paps, Youk & Varitek. Ortiz never bothered me much. I'm just annoyed how he got away with NOT answering the steroids allocations. It was like a little blip with nothing more made of it. I have to say ..Pedrioa has grown on me and actually makes me laugh with some of his comments. He can be quite funny. Make one thing clear tho' ..I'd NEVER take him over Robbie.

If any Sox player becomes a Yankee I root for him because he wears the pinstripes. I would have a very hard time tho' if it were ever Beckett or former sox...Manny. Fortunately ..I don't think I have to worry about that ... :o).

Hoping the Yankees kick Boston Butts this weekend ..

Go Yankees 2010 !!!

Anonymous said...

Duh ..that should read steroid allegations...

Go Yankees 2010 !!!

Jonmouk71 said...

Never say never - Pedro as a Yankee? Well, not now - but it could have happened. Could anyone have imagined, pre-1999, that the Rocket would be in pinstripes? Remember we also signed Tiant. Pedro did do most of his talking on the field, unlike that twerp, Bill Lee (he of the Yankees are stormtroopers comment). Who almost was a Yankee - remember Cater for Sparky Lyle? Well, some of the Yankee front office wanted Cater for Bill Lee (this was obviously before Bill Lee became the Spaceman).

Uncle Mike said...

You might remember, Jonmouk, that after the 1973 brawl that centered on Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk, Bill Lee said the Yankees fought “like a bunch of hookers swinging their purses.”

So the first question is, how would he know what hookers fight like? Second, why would he be fighting with them instead of, well, you know?

And finally, after the '76 brawl, when he got his shoulder wrecked by Graig Nettles, who then sucker-punched him (well, Lee WAS a sucker), Nettles said, “He shouldn’t be complaining. I hurt his shoulder. He earns his living with his mouth.”

Matt Warden said...

Let's not forget that Pedro, while in his prime, was one of the best pitchers in the game. Even though he played for the Sox, there wasn't a day that went by from 1993- 2004 I wouldn't have gladly had him on the Yankees rotation. Even though his personality rubbed many of us the wrong way, don't let it cloud your judgement of him as a player. He is an absolute first ballot HOF.

On a side note, Dan Shaughnessy is a joke.

MONDOAS said...

I would have never wanted Pedro to be a Yankee b/c he was great theater! Seriously, think about how many things took place in his tenure with the Sux. Offhand, when he stuck out 17 Yankees (didn't like that), Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, how he threw down Zimmer in the playoffs, who's your daddy and the WS in 2009. SO MANY things happened with him that never would have taken place if he were a Yankee.

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