Pedro unplugged from Cooperstown
Did you think Pedro Martinez’s pre-induction day press conference would be anything but entertaining?
Here were the highlights from his 21-minute session with the English-speaking media.
How does Pedro want to be remembered? “I’ve always been open-hearted and outspoken about the way I am. I think if you want to grasp a better idea of Pedro Martinez, you have to deal with me on a daily basis. I don’t have anything I can say that they don’t know. Maybe that I am a very regular human being, once I take my uniform off. I am lovely. I’m a joker. I’m a gardner. I’m a fisherman. I’m a father, a very dedicated father. I love my mom. I love gardening with her.”
Should there be baseball in Montreal again? “Great. Great. As soon as possible, we need a team in Montreal. I think Montreal was robbed of an opportunity to have probably a franchise that would last forever. It’s a great city. It’s probably the safest city I’ve ever played in, and I feel in Boston like I’m in my backyard. It goes to tell you that Montreal is that safe. And for people to play baseball and see baseball, and have family time, I think Montreal is the perfect place.”
Pedro visiting the Babe’s statue in Cooperstown. ““Yeah, we are teammates and I had the opportunity to go over and look at his statue and actually I did apologize for the comments I made that day [in 2001]. It was Shaughnessy and Jonny Miller getting in my face and I said those things because I didn’t believe in curses but I know especially after that moment, I got to really appreciate who the Bambino was and how good he was to the people and society, and for baseball. Oh yeah, I am his teammate. He forgave me for what I said. We moved on now. I’m counting on him to go deep and I’m going to get the next eight shutout innings.”
Pedro’s weekend experience: “You know what, this has been great. From the first moment we were announced, for some reason, these are four guys that respect, admire and look after each other to learn something from each other. I’ll tell you what, dealing with Randy, my big brother now, that’s how he calls me, my little brother, I call him my big brother, we have been hanging out together. It’s great to actually see the kind of person behind the uniform. If you watch him and watch me competing, you would never tell that Randy is the kind of guy that he is. John Smoltz, the same way. You didn’t know that John Smoltz was one guy that could pull off a prank on you at any moment. You look at them pitching, and it’s so serious, so committed to the game. You don’t perceive that whatsoever the kind of person behind it. I’m the same way. You would never tell that I’m a joker, that I’m someone so happy on days that I’m not pitching when you saw me pitching. It’s great to see that. It’s great to see the family interact with each other. How great they mix together as soon as they saw each other and they saw the way Randy and I walk around.”
Which direction will Pedro take in his speech? “I think it’s a commitment to Latin America. I feel the commitment more than anything as far as what I represent. I think it’s important that I go out there and show the level of education that I have. I’m going to be speaking in two languages, which is a little bit more difficult than people think. I’m going to be able to actually showcase how we are, how our people feel. I hope that I can express with the moment how much I love, respect and treasure everything I did in baseball, America, the people, the fanbases, the teams, the organizations, I hope I can project the right image at the time I get to the podium. Hopefully emotions won’t cut me off guard and make me cut it short.”
The 32-year-gap between Dominicans in the Hall: “You know what, what we got is what we deserve. There’s no crying in baseball we always say, right. We did not have the numbers, we did not have the kind of things that made us qualify to have another one. Juan Marichal was the Dominican Dandy, the one that represented the Dominican Republic for a long time. Now after 32 years, I showed up in the area. Now, I don’t think we’re going to wait 32 years more to get another representative. I think Vladimir Guerrero is right on the edge of becoming the next Hall of Famer. Guys that are still playing and posting numbers, I think, our going to be in the Hall of Fame, especially on the first ballot. Guys that if they decided to retire today, they would be Hall of Famers in five years, for sure.”
A-Rod a Hall of Famer? “No, I’m not talking about A-Rod, but I’m talking about Albert Pujols, maybe David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre – I think those are guys that will make it right away in the first ballot.”
Why not A-Rod? “I’m not going to go into that because there’s nothing I can do with the way voters handle who did what. Certainly the numbers are there but as you know from previous case – why not Roger Clemens, why not Barry Bonds? — because of the same reasons. So i’m not going to go into that and make a big deal out of this. I hope they all make it to be honest.
More on the juice era: “When I pitched it was the middle of that era where they say it was a juiced era. Well, guess what? I wanted the best out there, I wanted to face the best, I wanted to beat the best, I was able to do that. So if you ask me again, if I want to fact that kind of competition, yes I do. If I’m going to be given the 99 and the change-up and the curveball, bring it on again. I don’t care. There’s no crying in baseball right? I’m going to repeat that, there’s no crying in baseball, so I just hope that whoever gets a chance to make it here, makes it. It doesn’t matter. I’m not condoning people cheating the game or doing the wrong things, because I never did it. Hey, enough of the whining, let’s just play ball and face it. Once again, I’m going to repeat – i’m not condoningbad things in the game, but at the same time, let’s go and compete, let it be.”
Colin Cowherd disparaging the intellect of Dominicans: “It’s only going to be an insult to anyone that falls to that level, I’m not at that level, I’m sorry. I’m dealing here with polite people people that understand human rights, people who understand who we are and these are the people I’m paying attention to. That person, I don’t even know, I never heard of him, I don’t want to know him. I want to know the people that represent something, that mean something to us, the people that understand how we can get better.
More on Cowherd: “Yes, we are a Third World country, yes we don’t have the resources to be more educated but you know what every once in a while you’re going to get one like me, that’s not afraid to face you guys, to tell you how educated or uneducated I am, how proud I am of becoming who I am. We’re not going to stop and go back to probably the third world country that we were 30 years ago, we want to go forward, we’re looking forward. We don’t want to look down, to where he is, I want to look up to you guys, the voters, the seniors who are here, the Hall of Famers who are here and hopefully set the bar high like Roberto Clemente did.
On the bilingual approach Sunday: “Bear with me. It’s going to be in both languages. I have to go back and forth. With all due respect to America and the understanding it’s America’s pastime, baseball, and it’s played in America, I am committed to the Latin community and I am committed to America.”
Representing different cities and teams: “The same way we have fan bases in Boston, the same way in New York — believe it or not, I was a Met, and I’m proud of it. I was a Phillie, and I’m proud of it. I ran the Eastern division, I moved around. So I’m going to have people from all over and all of you are welcome and appreciated the same way. Mon amis in Montreal are welcome as well. Everybody that’s coming over is welcome. It’s part of baseball. It’s part of a huge tradition. I’m extremely proud to have had the opportunity to represent baseball in so many places, and to do it with honor and humbled to do it.”
Pedro on the fans of Boston: “They’ve got a place right here, in my heart. They’re with me here. I’m representing Boston. Like I said, I represent many things, but Boston is one place that I’m representing proudly. They can feel comfortable that Pedro is going to be Pedro. And Boston, whatever Pedro is, Boston is going along with it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain this very much to the Bostonians, because they know what I’m made of and they know who I am. I’m a walking party in Boston. The parade just keeps going.”