Earlier this winter, the Boston Red Sox hired former ace and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as an assistant to GM Ben Cherington. After joining the team on the field for Monday’s workouts, Martinez, who provided Red Sox fans with countless memorable quotes over the years, spoke with the media—and he was in mid-season form.
The author of such lines as “Who are you, Karim Garcia?” and “I call the Yankees my daddy” took center stage following Monday’s practice and answered questions ranging from his new role with the club to how many hitters that he plunked on purpose.
Martinez didn’t mince words when discussing Felix Doubront and the fact that the Red Sox lefty showed up at camp out of shape. “You have to hold him accountable”, he said. “At the same time, he’s just a young kid trying to develop… You have to take that into consideration and be patient with him.” In addition to working with Doubront, Martinez also helped with Daniel Bard and spent a great deal of time with promising rookie Rubby De La Rosa.
Though Martinez was more than content discussing how he plans on helping the Red Sox in 2013, the conversation quickly turned to the past. After admitting that he no longer has the ability to buzz a fastball in high and tight, Pedro was asked about all the batters that he had hit in his career. In response to the question of how many batters he hit on purpose, Martinez calmly responded, “Probably 90 percent of them, but it was all in retaliation for my teammates.”
Almost ten years after the now infamous 2003 ALCS, Pedro was again asked about the pitch that may or may not have hit Garcia. “It didn’t even hit him. Hit the bat. Lucky bastard.” The pitch in question was, of course, the catalyst that brought on a bench clear which eventually resulted in Martinez throwing New York Yankees coach Don Zimmer to the ground.
The jury’s still out on whether or not he’ll be able to help guide the younger Red Sox pitchers along the path of success, but one thing is for certain. As long as Pedro Martinez is near a microphone, Red Sox fans can expect to be entertained.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)