Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame ’

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.”

What a show

If you ever forget how much you love baseball, come to Cooperstown — especially for an induction weekend.

We all love the actual baseball season. But this is a great change of pace from that hustle and bustle, albeit just for a couple of days.

I’ve been covering baseball on a full-time basis since 1997, but this weekend reminded me of what it was like to be a full-time fan in the 1980s, when I marveled at Rickey Henderson’s speed, his gaudy athleticism, his showmanship, and Jim Rice’s raw strength and power and that pure swing.

It was a joy being around these two guys the last couple of days and listening to them recall their careers.

I didn’t know that Jim Rice could have taken a full ride to play college football at Nebraska, but he talked quite a bit about that this weekend.

And Rickey — the utter fascination of Rickey.

I think the one bittersweet thing about the weekend for Rickey is that Billy Martin, his late manager with both Oakland and New York, wasn’t around to see this.

“My relationship with Billy Martin – he was like a father figure. I think Billy took me as sort of like his son,” Henderson said. “Billy figured I was the type of player who would run down a wall or break down some bricks because I loved the game. He saw the inner side of me. He was that type of player. he always felt I went out to win each and every day and I was a winner.”

I loved the story Rickey told during his speech about being a boy and trying to get Reggie Jackson’s autograph. Instead of giving Rickey an autograph, Reggie would give him a pen that said “Reggie Jackson” on it. Reggie, seated on the stage behind Rickey, nearly fell off the stage laughing at that recollection

“I didn’t get his autograph after the ceremony but he’s looking for my autograph. I’m just waiting for that moment,” joked Rickey. “Eventually I got Reggie Jackson’s autograph. I had to go out and prove myself to get his autograph. I think the time I stole 130 bases, the next year he was running to get my autograph and I told him, ‘I can’t give you my autograph this time because I never had your autograph.”‘

Rickey — who played for the Yankees and Mets — on the New York fans?

“New York fans, I always said they know the game of baseball and they know when you go out and play the game hard or when you go out and you’re not playing at all, or when you go out, as they always say, you’re faking or you’re jaking or you just don’t want to play. I think that’s the difference. Being in New York, in the spotlight, that excited me. I always wanted to take the challenge of the greatest organization and the greatest team in baseball. It was a challenge to me. I enjoyed every bit of it.”

And, as Rickey recalls — perhaps erroneously — he actually never did refer to himself as “Rickey”.

“I don’t think I ever called myself Rickey. I’m trying to think about where their lingo kept rising and rising. People said, I’m going to call myself Rickey. I think in baseball, and on a baseball field, we talk about a lot of different stuff. We talk about a lot of different stuff. We talk about different terms and stuff like that. It got out to the media and they just ran with it. You’d probably never hear me say Rickey. That’s not how I speak or talk about it. I speak fast, I talk fast, but I’m not going to see Rickey did this or that. In baseball, you see players talk about you talking to your bats, you’re mumbling, you’re talking about something. That was the way I would go out and concentrate and make me realize what I had to do,” said Rickey.

One thing you can be quite sure of — there will never be another Rickey.

I must say that at the end of the 2002 season, my first year on the Red Sox beat, I walked up to Rickey and shook his hand and said, “I just wanted to let you know it was an honor to cover you.”

I never said that to any player before or since. That’s just Rickey.

Anyway, back to Fenway tomorrow for some Red Sox-A’s. I hope all of you aren’t panicking about the ongoing slump of the offense. This, too, shall pass.

Ted, Yaz and Jim — Left field trio for ages

Finally, Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame. And finally, the holy trinity of Red Sox left fielders is truly complete.

Think about this. Three Hall of Fame left fielders who played their entire career with one team, one succeeding the other. I am going to say it right now. This will never happen again.

I am now a sportswriter but when I was in my youth, growing up in the Boston area, I enjoyed the heck out of watching Jim Rice play baseball. I’ve never seen someone produce such swift bat action with their wrists. What a strong man he was. He played hard, he played hurt, and he smoked the ball, just about every day.

Yes, there were some double plays, particularly in the mid ’80s. But there were a whole lot more screaming line drives. He could also play left field. People forget this. This guy developed into a strong defensive player at Fenway Park, where he truly mastered The Wall.

Listening to him speak the last two days, it is unbelievable how relaxed and happy he has become. Jim always put up that front of insecurity, but it has been utterly gone the last two days.

I was at the game in 1982 when a little boy got nailed in the head by a Dave Stapleton line drive. The kid was bleeding and fans were in stunned silence, not knowing quite what to do. Jim Rice never flinched. He hopped out of the dugout, reached into the stands to grab the kid and got him into the clubhouse immediately to get looked at by the doctors. A young Theo Epstein was also at this game, and referred to it yesterday. I hadn’t thought about that moment in years, but when Theo mentioned it, the memories immediately flooded back of Rice so heroically handling the situation.

Now, he is a Hall of Famer, and for those who watched him every day for most of his career, it is nice to see.

I’m looking forward to the night when No. 14 goes on the right-field facade next year. Hopefully they can do some re-arranging with the numbers so the sequence is 9, 8 and 14.

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