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.


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.)

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.