June 21, 2017

Pedro Martinez: "For My Compadre, Big Papi"

For My Compadre, Big Papi
Pedro Martinez, The Players Tribune, June 21, 2017
I'm gonna tell you something that should be no surprise.

The legend of David Ortiz starts with food.

I know David has told this story before, but he's an old man now, and I have a much better memory than he does, so I want to tell it from my side.

In December 2002, I was back in the Dominican Republic. We had finished the season 10½ games back of the Yankees, and let me tell you something — nobody hated to lose to the Yankees more than me. Nobody. It made me sick to finish behind them.

Our team was pretty good, but we were missing something. So one night, I was out with some friends on the Malecón in Santo Domingo, and we were hungry. Now, there are hundreds of restaurants we could have gone to.

My one compadre wanted steak. Somebody else wanted mangú. It was a debate. But this restaurant called Vesuvio made a lobster stew that was just calling out to me.

I swear it was God whispering to me, "Lobster, Pedro. Go to the lobster."

So I told my boys, "We're going to Vesuvio."

When we walked in the place, David Ortiz was sitting at a back table, talking to somebody on the phone. David was my boy. When the Twins would come to town, I'd have him over my house for dinner and I kind of took him under my wing.

I hadn't seen David in a while, so I snuck up behind him and gave him a big hug. But he wasn't smiling. He just kept on listening to the person on the phone. I don't think I had ever seen David not smiling.

So I left him alone to finish his call and I sat down and had my stew.

When I came back to David's table later, he still looked depressed.

I said, "Compadre, what happened?"

He said, "Can you believe this s***?"

"Believe what?"

"I just got released by Minnesota." ...
I remember Mike Mussina getting David over and over again with his curveball. I kept telling David, "If you swing at the first one he shows you, you're grounding out. Just let it go! If he falls behind in the count, he's going to go back to the curveball, but this time it'll be over the plate. Then you can get him."

It seemed like every time he faced Mussina after that, he'd wait on the curveball and hit a bomb.
Ortiz vs Mussina:

Ortiz started off his career against Mussina 0-for-20, with 13 strikeouts. From 1998-2004: 2-for-29 (.069) in the regular season and 5-for-41 (.122) overall, including the postseason.

And then ... over the next three seasons (2005-07), Ortiz batted .480 against Mussina (12-for-25). However, he hit only three bombs, and two of them came in the same game (May 29, 2005).


SoSock said...

That picture though.... :-)

Jere said...

I'll be on the field before the game tomorrow night, I hope he's out there goofing around during BP--but who knows, maybe he'll wait until the ceremony to make his first appearance in what I assume will be quite an outfit.

I love that the Yanks lost tonight because it means since we're "tied" for first, so they can (maybe?) put us on top of the standings on the Wall! A perfect touch for Papi Day.

allan said...

Yep, one of my favourite pics from 2004!

allan said...

I hope MLBTV comes on early to show some of it. Though I guess there will be video at NESN and MLB

allan said...

Fucking Orioles give up 6!
That extended their worst-in-AL-history record of 19 straight games allowing 5+ runs!!!

allan said...

MLB record is 20! Go Os!!!