There he was, Pedro Martinez the future Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher on the mound in the Bronx Thursday evening trying to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 2-0 lead in the World Series against the New York Yankees. And all he heard from the 50,181 fans at Yankee Stadium was “Who’s Your Daddy.” As he walked off the mound after working six impressive innings, he saw a father sitting in the front row with his daughter, holding a beer in one arm and screaming obscenities at him.
It was an issue addressed by Martinez to the media after his Phillies lost game 2 of the Series and headed home. Martinez would smile at the fans as he left the mound, in particular made note of one fan, a father with his young daughter who took the competition of sports to a nasty level.
He was one of those many arrogant Yankee fans that made unkind gestures to Martinez, and in turn damage the integrity of other fans who appreciate the greatness and attributes of the great ones who play the game.
“I just told him,” commented Martinez, “’Your daughter is right beside you. It’s a little girl. It’s a shame you’re saying all these things.’ I had to stop and tell him because I’m a father myself and, God how can you be so dumb to do those kind of things in front of your child? What kind of example are you setting?”
Yeah fans have the right to boo all they want to the opposing player and team. Their ticket purchase gives them that right, but before every game Major League Baseball makes the home team inform fans about using offensive language. Not when the Yankees play the Red Sox, or in this case with Martinez on the mound and the Yankees so desperate to get their 27th world title
But this fan, and others, who disrespected Martinez saw the situation had more to do with a previous and ugly incident when Martinez was a member of the hated Boston Red Sox. Then, he pushed Don Zimmer, once a coach with the Yankees to the ground during an ugly brawl when the two teams battled for the American League pennant.
This was Martinez, pitching in another uniform, at another time. But to the Yankee fan there is no reflection of greatness to another team, or another player, except for their history and one of their own. So to them, Martinez was just an enemy on the mound last week and not remembered for being a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star.
Martinez would strikeout eight Yankees in game 2 which matched his second most ever in a postseason game. And he had an answer to all New York fans about his unpleasant, though impressive return to New York. Remember, he played also for the cross-town Mets and helped them to the 2006 postseason.
“I know I played for the Mets,” he said. “I know they really want to root for me. It’s just that I don’t play for the Yankees that’s all. I’ve always been a good competitor, and they love that. They love the fact that I compete. I’m a New Yorker, as well. If I was on the Yankees, I’d probably be like a king over here.”
Yeah, Martinez said it. He is not a New York Yankee and will never be, so Yankee fans will never consider him a king or a pitcher that has contributed so much to baseball over the years. If indeed that was his last appearance on a pitching mound in New York it will be another memorable moment in the career of Pedro Martinez.
He said, “I did everything I could to beat those guys. You have to give them a lot of credit,” said Martinez about the Yankees. It was just a loss for Martinez, even if it was a World Series game that meant so much.
The unfortunate thing is Yankee fans look at another World Series win as more important than giving some accolades to a pitcher that has contributed so much to the game of baseball
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]