July 1, 2006

Pedro And The Geeks

Seth Mnookin points out that the stories Pedro told recently of his leaving Boston don't quite match reality:
[W]hen Pedro says he wanted nothing more than to return to Fenway and finish out his career with the Sox, a little context would be nice. Pedro -- one of the proudest men ever to put on a uniform -- hated the fact that Schilling had supplanted him as the team's ace. He hated it so much that he didn't travel to New York for Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees, when a bloodied Schilling took the mound ... He resented the fact that the Sox had juggled their World Series rotation so it was Schilling who got the Game 2 start at Fenway. (That way, Schilling wouldn't need to bat and risk running on his ankle.) ... [L]et's not allow the misty-eyed tributes to cloud a clear-eyed view of reality.
Listening to some of Martinez's press conference on the web, I also felt like Pedro was spinning the press. Frankly, I don't recall Pedro's blunt statements during the 2004 season of wanting to remain in Boston. And of course, he could have returned to Boston. The team (eventually) offered him a three-year guaranteed deal. But I think most fans knew -- for many reasons (including, I believe, Pedro's pride at what he would consider was capitulating to the Sox front office) -- that wouldn't happen. (By the way, Mnookin's upcoming book Feeding The Monster looks like a must-read.)

On June 29, Herald columnist John Tomase reported:
Pedro Martinez didn't want to leave Boston? Then why have multiple sources confirmed that mere hours after the Red Sox clinched the 2004 World Series did he scream the following at members of the front office as they walked triumphantly to the team charter:

"Hey computer geeks!" Martinez screamed. "Computer geeks! This is my World Series, not yours! And now I'm a free agent and there's nothing you can do about it!"
Because of some ridiculous claims in that column, I was tempted to dismiss the anecdote, but then Roger Rubin, on the same day, wrote this in the New York Daily News:
Moments after the final out last night, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein sailed through the interview room, where manager Terry Francona gives his postgame news conferences. He was whistling a happy tune, stopping only to utter five words before resuming the song: "Computer geeks one, Pedro nothing."
And in mid-December 2004, after signing with the Mets, Martinez questioned Boston's commitment to resigning him:
What were they waiting for? There was no need for all those computer geeks. Hadn't they seen me pitch all those years? They saw me in person.
Some people have claimed Martinez's numbers in 2005 and 2006 are good because he's pitching in a weaker league (the same has been said about Bronson Arroyo) and they point to his Fenway start as proof of that.

It's impossible to say at this point if that is the case. Here are Pedro's other starts against American League teams as a member of Mets:
Date Team IP H R ER BB K W/L

0522 NYY 7 4 1 1 1 6 ND
0618 Sea 6 9 4 4 1 7 L
0624 NYY 8 6 2 2 2 3 W

Date Team IP H R ER BB K W/L

0520 NYY 7 4 0 0 1 8 ND
0617 Bal 7 8 4 3 1 5 L

Totals 35 31 11 10 6 29 2.57
Not too shabby, considering three of the five starts were against the Yankees.

Anyway, as much as I love Pedro and wish he was still in Boston, I agreed with the front office's decision to not offer a guaranteed fourth year. And we'll have to wait until 2009 to see if that was a wise business move.


Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: You're wrong...we don't have to wait. It WAS a wise move, just as it was a wise move not to sign Clemens to the richest contract of any pitcher after four years of .500 pitching; just as it made sense not to resign Fisk at his asking price at 32 after multiple lost seasons to injury; just as the Sox thought Larry Anderson could get them to the Series and it was worth a AA thirdbaseman with no power. A judgement is wise based on the situation and calculation of probabilities when you make it. There was no data to suggest that Roger, motivated, would bounce back better than ever; the data said that Fisk would be a part-timer in three years (and he played to 45); the data said that Boggs and Scott Cooper blocked Bagwell to the majors, and the Sox needed one more reliable bullpen arm to have a chance to make the postseason. Arroyo for Wily Mo; no five year contract for Johnny D. These were all smart moves that just didn't pan out or may not...that doesn't make them "unwise."

A four year contract for Pedro would have been irresponsible after 2004, and if the Mets get lucky, that shouldn't change that assessment.

allan said...

I agree with you. Maybe it was a poor choice of words.

The decision was wise at the time. Once the decision has been made, we can debate how well it turned out for everyone involved (although I would say that it's still too early for that).

And even if Pedro has four good years with the Stems, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have blown out his shoulder in May 2005 with the Sox (or maybe the Sox four straight World Series with Pedro). There is no way to know what would have happened. So you're right -- judge the decision at the time it was made.

(Which is why I hate announcers who say, "If Smith hadn't been caught stealing, he would have scored on Jones's double." No. The way Jones was pitched to would have been different if Smith was still on base.)

Desert Sox said...

I loved watching Pedro pitch when he just blew people away, it was an honor to witness such mastery.
But THAT Pedro wasn't the guy I saw the last couple of seasons with the Sox. I still wanted him pitching for me, but really, if the weather was too cold it seemed like he got hammered, a lot (how happy was I that the 3rd game in St Louis was in the 60's?).
And then there was the magical 100 pitch barrier, after which if you chose to leave him in, it seemed like he was hammered, a lot.
Okay, so you know what, I didn't mind those things (well, I did a mind them a little), and I STILL wanted him pitching for me, but what I really, really, hated was his prima dona attitude.
And y'know, if the anecdote is true, if right after The Sox won he shouted crap like that to Theo & co., trying to put a damper on a celebration so deserved by the Sox brass... Then he is an even bigger classless idiot than I thought he was, and while I think Pedro ought to have recieved a standing O (or two or three even) for services rendered to the Nation, the second that first pitch crossed the plate I wanted the Sox to tear the hide off the ball, and was very pleased when they obliged.
Do I hate Pedro? No... I mean he was a larger than life personna when he took the hill, and during a time when the Sox were not the greatest, he was.
But by the end of his stay with the Sox, I was weary of his antics and I kind of felt he fed some of Manny's discontent, right or wrong.
I STILL wanted the guy to pitch for me and was shocked that he was gone to the Mets, but when I finally got to see the Sox WS parade again and saw Old Petey get beaned on the noggin by a baseball tossed from the crowd on shore, I thought now that right there was a fitting end to Pedro's tenure with the Red Sox!

laura k said...

But THAT Pedro wasn't the guy I saw the last couple of seasons with the Sox.

Really? It sure was the one I saw.

Jack Marshall said...

No, Desert Sox is right. Grady Little would have been justified in leaving in THAT Pedro. THAT Pedro has only shown up occasionally since 2001.