Podres to Conti to Pedro to Humber. Plus Koufax
floating around camp. Yes, it’s enough to make the heart sing. And Tom
Terrific hasn’t even shown up yet, assuming he still pops by to
dispense advice on grips and motions. We’ve got great pitching in the
past and in the future, and with Martinez on board, maybe at least once
every five days right now.
A New Englander I know congratulated
me on the signing of Beltran with the subtext, “this should make up for
Pedro.” I was a little disconcerted by that. Getting Pedro is a good
thing, I said. Isn’t it?
Á la Charles Jefferson in Fast Times at Ridgemont High
(and maybe even Mike Piazza in 1998), I looked at Pedro Martinez
donning our cap, modeling our jersey and standing in front of our logo
in December and couldn’t quite shake the notion that he doesn’t really
live here, he just flies in for games. But he doesn’t. He’s ours. He’s
a Met. The actual Pedro Martinez pitches for the New York Mets. Son of
Has anybody actually stopped and grasped this fact? We’re
not talking about a wheezing Warren Spahn just hanging on. We’re not
talking about Dean Chance filling in a trivia answer for ex-Cy Young
winners. We’ve got a Hall of Famer who went 16-9 for the world
champions last year.
Sure, I’m aware of his reputation and his
hijinks and whatever went on in his old place of business. But I
haven’t seen a hint of it yet here. OK, so he wore a wacky fake head on
his real head one day. And he’s let it be known he doesn’t think much
of all of Willie’s rules. So he’s human. It’s hardly enough to
constitute rationalization just yet.
He’s teaching Philip Humber
the circle change, for god’s sake. He’s smiling with and throwing heat
to Mike. He’s shown up every day as far as we know. He looked great the
last time he took the mound when it counted, against St. Louis in the
World Series. If Pedro Martinez is a problem, we should all have
problems like that.
I don’t even fear those words will haunt me
come August. He may not pitch like the Pedro of legend, but I have a
feeling that the “what crazy thing is he gonna do now?” stuff will be
left behind in the other league. New York, for all its nutsiness, isn’t
Boston. We’ve had malcontents — we’ve cornered the market on them at
times — but they don’t blossom into full-grown subsidiaries of the
larger cause. At worst, say Bonilla, they annoy and they are shunned.
If Pedro pitches something like the Pedro of 2004 (and in the National
League, if we’re to believe the trendy school of thought, the lack of a
DH will translate 16-9 to 26-3) and is merely colorful, he’ll and we’ll
It was wondered upon his signing whether Pedro might
get bored having to live outside of a pennant race. Shoot, I’ll get
bored if we’re not in a pennant race. But the man is not a child. Yes,
I’m projecting whatever stoic qualities I want to onto him, but let’s
assume that the guy who had the greatest run of pitching since Koufax
is a professional.