Friday, June 23, 2006

Glory Days (Fenway 6/28 Remix)

I was going to wait a few days to post this, but Whit's right-on entry below makes it more appropriate today.

Next Wednesday, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise (no small request in New England these days), Pedro Martinez will take the hill in Fenway Park wearing a Mets uniform. And 38,000 will stand as 1 and give him a richly deserved ovation. Somewhere, Johnny Damon will be scratching his caveman head and wondering why. (SoSH has dedicated an entire thread to it today after Peter Gammons publicly surmised that Pedro would be booed. I'd be knocked-on-my-ass stunned if that happened, and more than a little disappointed.)

Whit's exactly right in sussing out the fact that I'm not rubbing it in when I compare Boston Pedro with his New York alter-ego. Every fan should get to experience what the Nation did when Petey was on his game. Quite simply, we got to watch arguably the best 6-year stretch of pitching in the history of baseball - both in terms of stats and moments. No apologies to Sandy Koufax necessary, though he's probably the only other guy in the conversation.

I love Pedro Martinez, even today. I root for him every time he pitches, and I root for him to give Whit a taste of the magic he gave me. Like no player in any sport I've ever seen, Pedro has it - that sense of the moment, that bravado under the gun, that steel in his eyes that says, "I'm your huckleberry". Gammons calls it duende - a word that I'll always associate with Pedro. Even now, the aging gunslinger refuses to give in to time's inevitable march, and Whit's a luckier fan for it.

Even as he takes the mound in the bottom of the first instead of the top, I'll be rooting for him on Wednesday night, hoping for the elegant symmetry of another otheworldly Pedro performance. Rooting for sublime Pedro, to be sure, even while rooting for him to lose, 1-0, on a David Ortiz homerun, just so the Fenway crowd can chant, "Who's Your Papi?" With Whit joining me to watch the game, that would be some cool shit.

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