Actually, Dan, Pedro is not “the neediest 10-game winner in baseball history.” He’s the guy who’s giving the Boston Red Sox a chance to win a World Series. It’ll take Manny and Nomar and Varitek to get us to the playoffs, but if the Sox get there, it’s going to be Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe who take the team the rest of the way. This team — this city — needs Pedro.
I am wholly sick of the sports radio idiots who whine about Pedro’s 17.5 million. Most of Boston isn’t, in fact, paying Pedro’s salary. I didn’t buy any tickets this season, and I’m still getting the pleasure of watching Pedro pitch on television. From where I sit, it’s a freebie. Dan Shaughnessy isn’t paying for tickets — in fact, without the Pedros and the Nomars and the Birds and the Bradys of the world, Dan wouldn’t have a job.
It’s valid to criticize sports stars, but Boston takes it to a different level. There was a really telling segment on WEEI this morning with Dennis and Callahan. They were talking to a caller, a journalist, whose name I didn’t catch; they said something about how Pedro would find the same reception and the same criticism no matter where he wound up.
Said journalist pointed out that this was absolutely incorrect. There are plenty of markets out there where the fans don’t get this heated up. You don’t get the same excitement when you win, but maybe (he went on) Pedro doesn’t need that; maybe Pedro gets all his motivation from the inside.
That’s really the bottom line: Boston is hard on its sports stars. People talk a lot about Pedro’s track record of injuries and missing games, but there hasn’t been much talk about the track record of the Boston media. It would have been nice to have a healthy, happy Mo Vaughan around in 1999, you know?
Nobody bitched about Pedro missing the team picture when he made that relief appearance in 1999 against the Indians. He’s paying for the team’s lack of success over the last few years, because Dan Duquette isn’t around any more so there needs to be another target. I guarantee that the people complaining about Pedro now will be asking why Larry Lucchino and John Henry can’t find an ace pitcher two years from now.