Category Listing
Monthly Archive
Baseball Reference
Red Sox Links

Recent Posts
Recent Comments
Essential Empy

Home » June 2006 Game CommentsJune 2006 » Reminiscence


Game 75: June 28, 2006
Mets (47-30), 2
Red Sox (47-28), 10

L: Pedro Martinez (7-4)
W: Josh Beckett (10-3)

When Pedro Martinez pitched for the Red Sox, the atmosphere on Yawkey Way was like Carnaval. Grown men waited at the gates with smiles adorning their faces, happy as kids on swings. Mothers would show their daughters how Pedro would hold the ball for his change of pace pitch, “But your fingers are quite a bit shorter than his. Throw it with the same motion and arm slot, that’s how you fool the hitters.” Scalpers would stalk the streets with the monotonous murmur of “Anybody selling, selling tickets, anybody selling” trailing behind them, demand outstripping supply. Electricity crackled in the air, fueling the spirits of haggard workers who felt the day’s labor lifted from their shoulders as they crossed the threshold.

Even though Pedro is now with the Mets, that same intensity could be felt last night. The reception of Pedro was a cross between a rock star mesmerizing his devotees and a war hero from a distant land. He received four distinct standing ovations: when he traversed the field to the strip of turf just outside the visitors’ bullpen, when he walked back to the dugout after long toss, when his name was announced by Carl Beane, and as he stood on the mound before his first pitch. Four times, which is one more than the number of innings he pitched.

For the version of Pedro we most fondly remember, the Martinez of 1999, has abated. But when the skill of a man who is one of best in baseball history subsides, it’s like saying the sun is diminished because it loses six million tons of matter a second to shine its light upon us.

He shone briefly: in the second inning he allowed no hits and he struck out Kevin Youkilis, a man not known for his futility at the plate, to end the third. But otherwise, Pedro looked like he’d rather be playing in the home whites. In the first, fielded a bleeder of the bat of his brother in all but blood David Ortiz. He turned to third but David Wright wasn’t there because of the Ortiz shift. Martinez motioned as if he were going to make the throw to second, but came up short, reconsidered, and relayed to first for the out as Youkilis and Mark Loretta advanced. They would go on to score, and two more would cross the plate due to an egregious error by Lastings Milledge.

Perhaps seeing the wall in the background and the Red Sox uniforms in motion Petey was momentarily befuddled. “Why am I not throwing to Nomar to start the double play? I don’t see Manny’s dreads in left field.”

He wasn’t the only wistful one. I remembered marking the days on my calendar hoping my tickets were for his start.

You can go home again (remarkably, Alex Gonzalez proved you can do it two nights in a row). Martinez didn’t depart Fenway on the team bus but in Ortiz’s Hummer. I waited by the barricades that separated the fans from the players’ cars after the game. We chanted his name. He waved giddily from the passenger seat, the frenzied movement apparent despite the tinting. They drove off together down Yawkey Way onto Boylston.

I miss him.

Martinez may have gotten more ovations, but Josh Beckett received thundering acclaim for his seven and two-thirds innings of work that was louder than those for Pedro. Beckett would have gone eight but for the thirteen pitches he threw to Carlos Beltran, the last of which was a ruled a ball. As Beckett left the field, he tipped his cap angrily, upset that he hadn’t nailed down the last out of the inning. He even slapped away the hands of guys in the dugout trying to give him high fives as if he didn’t deserve them.

There might never be another Pedro Jaime Martinez, but having Beckett in his prime may bring that spark back to the park.

« Top « Home » Category ListingMonthly Archive


RSS Feed



  • Visitors to EE since November 2004
  • Boston Phoenix Best of ’06
    Phoenix Best
  • Blog contents, images, and design
    © 2004-2015 by Joanna J.M. Hicks.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.