With news that former Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez faces potentially career-ending injury and surgery, I reflect on all the great years and great games he gave us. Pedro, who pitches for the New York Mets now, is undergoing rotator-cuff surgery, which can be a career-ender for pitchers his age, and apparently, the Red Sox knew it was coming when they refused to sign him to a long-term contract two years ago and let him go to free agency.
Sox doctors knew what the Mets doctors knew: Martinez’s rotator cuff was hanging by a thread. From the moment he left the Sox and signed a lucrative four-year deal with the Mets, there was a tick, tick, tick emanating from Martinez’s right shoulder.
I’ll remember some of those great games for a long time and will regale my kids of the time Pedro had a no-hitter going against the Devil Rays into the 9th inning; and when he struck out all those batters that one game, one right after another; and Pedro’s K-Men in the bleachers; and that amazing performance in New York, the one Fr. Murphy saw in person at Yankee Stadium when he went to Irish tenor Frank Patterson’s funeral; and the Roger Clemen’s return to Fenway Park in a Yankee uniform in a head-to-head match-up with Pedro. And the not-so-glamorous moments like the uneven match-up with Don Zimmer in 2004.
Still, for a long time, every five games we could count on Pedro for a win, however bad the losing streak was, he could usually put a stop to it.
We all grow old (and Pedro is only 35!) and time moves on. Perhaps nothing reminds sports fans of their own mortality like their favorite athletes retiring, no longer able to perform as they once did.
And if we’re all wrong and Pedro’s back in 2008, I’ll be glad to see him, whatever uniform he’s wearing (except Yankee pinstripes obviously), and I’ll be rooting for him to win 20.
(P.S. Did I ever tell the story about how I once barged in on a half-dressed Frank Patterson before a concert?)
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