The other reason is because there’s no way they were gonna have the Yankees play early. They’re still the Yanks and they command prime-time attention. No big deal for the Rangers; the team will find a way to get respect, even if it means going and snatching it away from the Rays. Besides, Cliff Lee pitched a gem, and in the second game, Reds-Phillies, Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter, so baseball fans who were stuck with the early games still won. My bad; I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. Anyway...
The two pitchers on the mound yesterday, Cliff Lee, aka The Greatest Man who ever Lived as titled by The Rev, and David Price, are two of the best that today’s league has to offer. Even with this matchup of dominance on the mound, my mind began to stray a bit and it led me to one of my favorite baseball players of all-time, if not my favorite pitcher ever: The Amazing, Colorful, Dominant, Entertaining, Confrontational, and Combustible Pedro Martinez.
This postseason will be void of Pedro, and for that, a tremendous feeling of loss has swept the vicinity. Between his exploits on the mound, as well as his sound-bites off, the man is a living legend and someone who is tailor-made for the chaos that is the MLB postseason. Sure, he pitched for the Expos in the old days, but admittedly, I didn’t mess with Pedro like that back then. It wasn’t until he got to Boston when I realized how live he was.
A couple of nights ago, ESPN showed their recent 30 for 30, Four Days in October, that showed Boston coming back from a 3-0 deficit to shock the world and win the 2004 ALCS. Despite the fact that there was really little love for either team, I found myself drawn to their run and even more to the brilliance of Pedro, especially after what happened the year before, when the man self-destructed in the same stadium. It was poetic justice to see him return and help his team to victory.
Despite being about 5’10 and 127 pounds, Pedro was arguably the most intimidating man on the diamond, anytime he was out there. The man has a highlight reel of victims at the plate, and if he didn’t strike them out, he’d bean them instead. He slung Don Zimmer across Fenway Park for runnin’ up on him, and as much as I love and respect old people, Zimmer paid the cost for trying to charge up Pedro and got his big watermelon head-ass rolled all across foul territory for his trouble.
He once told a group of reporters that he didn’t believe in curses, and for them to bring the Bambino back from the dead and he’d drill him in the ass. The man had so much audacity and was so bold, that he made complete and utter disrespect to the dead hilarious. He entertained us with a midget a few years ago, soaked in the “Who’s Your Daddy” chants, and once said he was, at times, the most influential player in the history of Yankee Stadium, a proclamation so preposterous and outrageous, yet one you couldn’t get totally angry at, because the man is so real and had plenty of great moments. Besides, Pedro said it in a way that only he could really get away with.
If the Rangers weren’t in the playoffs, I’d still watch, but it wouldn’t be the same, simply because there would be no dog in the fight for me. When the Phillies made the World Series last year, I wanted them to win for two reasons: my hate for the Yankees, and my loyalty to Pedro. The man is one of the greatest of all-time, and the only hope is the man’s memory lives on, throughout the postseason. We’re all sure to get some good baseball, but there will never be another man like The Curl again.
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