Pedro Martinez, that old 98-mph heater

Pedro Martinez.
So much can be said in those five syllables.
On Saturday, articles ran across New England that Pedro stated he was going to become a free agent, which he had talked about on Friday night.
I can’t say it wasn’t a surprise. The timing was not a surprise, either. Back in spring training, Pedro had made it clear they had until Opening Day/the end of April. Opening Day came and went as John Henry, Red Sox owner, asked Pedro to hold on for a month while the Red Sox reviewed insurance policies. The end of April arrived, bringing the Red Sox Nation three things that Pedro did not realize.
1) The end of April brought the sports world into mourning as Pat Tillman, football player turned Army Ranger, died for his country.
2) The Red Sox were riding a six game winning streak, and had won six of seven from the Yankees. At the close of April, they were in first by the largest margin since 1918.
3) A start by Pedro against the Rangers, to happen on Saturday.
Pat Tillman
Pedro ran his mouth at the wrong time. Here is Pat Tillman, who spurned money from the Arizona Cardinals, to become an Army Ranger. To fight in a war. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, never getting the money from the Cardinals, but getting glory as a Ranger killed in action.
How does Pedro look, whining about his money, about liars, when we have Pat Tillman being shipped home in a casket with an American Flag draped over it?
Winning
The Red Sox had a six game winning streak. It was very hard for columnists to slam the team. Dan Shaughnessy even talked about this on Sunday.
Now, the team is bombarded with questions about Pedro, about his contract, about the contracts of others, about “Is the team committed to winning?”. And what do you know, they start slumping. Is this coincidence, or did they just run into a good team? I think it is a mix of both. Pedro’s chattering did not take too kindly to the psyches of clubhouse members.
Yapping Before His Start
While I am not condoning what Pedro said, it was incredibly stupid of him to make this statement a day before a game he was due to start. People have said that he knew there would be backlash, and would have used it for motivation. Either Pedro didn’t get motivated, or he was (more than likely) astounded at the amount of backlash he recieved. Anyway, Pedro got spanked around by the young Rangers crew, and he ended up looking like a fool. The message Pedro was saying comes across a lot better on the heels of a shutout than it does on the balls of a blowout.

This is something Pedro did not do.
Ah, Pedro Martinez. Boston Dirt Dogs published a little song parody of Pedro, a.k.a. Petey Paycheck, singing “Take This Job And Shove It”. This song is quoted here:

Take this job and shove it,
I ain’t pitchin’ here no more.
My fastball done left,
An’ took all the reasons I was whinin’ for.
You better not to try to stand in my way,
As I’m a walkin’ out the door.
Take this job and shove it,
I ain’t workin’ here no more.
I’ve been pitchin’ in this city,
For nigh on seven years.
All this time, I watched my fastball,
Drownin’ them in a pool of tears.
An I’ve seen a lot of my good folk leave,
Got a lot of bills to pay.
I’d give the shirt right off of my back,
Cause I had the guts to say.
Take this job and shove it,
I ain’t pitchin’ here no more.
My fastball done left,
An’ took all the reasons I was pitchin’ for.
You better not to try to stand in my way,
As I’m a walkin’ out the door.
Take this job and shove it,
I ain’t workin’ here no more.
Well, that Theo, he’s a regular dog,
The Baltimore boss is a fool.
Got a brand new geri-curl haircut;
Lord, he thinks he’s cool.
One of these days, I’m gonna blow my top,
And suckers, you’re gonna pay
Four, I can’t wait to see their faces,
Cuza get the nerve to say:
Take this job and shove it,
I ain’t pitchin’ here no more.
My fastball done left,
An’ took all the reasons I was b-tchin’ for.
You better not to try to stand in my way,
As I’m a runnin’ out the door.
Take this town and shove it,
I ain’t workin’ here no more.

An incredibly funny song, a great job by Boston Dirt Dogs.
And yet it made me incredibly sad.
Pedro Martinez, that old 98-mph heater. Pedro Martinez, winning yet another Cy Young. Pedro Martinez, we expected a strike-out, not a pop-up.
Pedro Martinez, best pitcher in baseball.
What has he become? A truly worried man, worried about his shoulder. This worry has manifested in him, and has made him less of a fun-loving guy. This guy is worried about his future. Can you blame him?
And yet the man won’t think. He says stuff that he shouldn’t. He would get a lot more leeway from the owners, reporters, and fans if he didn’t keep saying this vitrolic diatribe. Fans, columnists, and owners love Jason Varitek. He keeps his mouth shut. Theo Epstein, today, said that “signing Varitek now is not an option based on the nature of the negotiations.” You can bet Varitek was/will be asked about this. Based on ‘Tek’s attitude and prior ways of speaking to the media, he will most likely either a) decline comment, b) refer the reporters to his agent, or c) make a respectful comment.
I have tremendous faith in Theo Epstein to build a team. As Sam Killay, he of Raystalk and Wicked East Coast, stated today: “That’s one difference between the way I felt about the Sox in the past and the way I feel about them now. I never trusted The Duke [Dan Duquette] to build a good future and still win right now, too. It was one or the other, not both. But I trust Theo create a solid team right now without mortgaging the future. It’s an incredible feeling.”
If Pedro leaves, I will be incredibly saddened. A great man, a great pitcher, becoming what he is. I truly hope he and the Red Sox can work something out.
I truly hope the Red Sox take Manny’s offer. Will the Player’s Association allow it? Probably not, but you never know. Manny’s been quite a guy this year, and I believe him when he said he is willing to defer $5 million a year to resign Pedro.
“How long is (Pedro) planning to stay, three years? I’ll loan them a contract. Whatever they want. How much do they need? It’s for Pedro.”
Manny needs Pedro. The team needs Pedro. I need Pedro. And Pedro needs us.

We certainly don’t need this.