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Pedro: ‘I consider myself a Bostonian’

11.03.09 at 7:39 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez, who is scheduled to pitch Game 6 of the World Series, spoke to the media at Yankee Stadium. Among the topics, Martinez touched on his relationship with the Red Sox fans:

Q. Would it amuse you to hear that every Red Sox fan is rooting for you to beat the Yankees?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: No, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. I know that they don’t like the Yankees to win, not even in Nintendo games. (Laughter). And knowing that I am part of Boston, I consider myself a Bostonian, as well, too, I’ve been a Montrealer, a Bostonian, and now a New Yorker, and somehow I might become a Philadelphian now. But I’ve only been there for a short period. It’s something that’s a work in progress, and I’m pretty sure that every Boston fan out there can feel proud that I’m going to try to beat the Yankees, and I’m going to give just the same effort I always did for them. They’re special fans, and they will always have my respect.

Here is the transcript (courtesy of ASAP Sports): 

Q. I want to know how you feel to have your whole career come around full cycle here with all the confrontations you’ve had with the Yankees, all the confrontations you’ve had with Pettitte, that this would come down to six games of the World Series with you in a different uniform but sort of in the same setting with so much relying on it.

PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, I would just have to actually thank God, not only for the opportunity but for actually keeping me healthy and blessing me and Andy. I actually have such a long career go full cycle around, actually be able to compete once again in a World Series, on one of the biggest stages, just see two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it.

Q. Following up on that, what do you make of the chants when they start chanting “who’s your daddy” out there at Yankee Stadium?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: That’s an old one. I’m going to pass on that one. Let’s just kind of stay in the present over here. I’m not going to answer that question. And I’m sorry for that.

Q. Now that you’re a little older and you’re relying more on finesse than power, what kind of challenges are there facing the same team back to back just a few days apart?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: The challenge, it’s pretty much the same most of the time when you face experienced teams like this. And even not even facing them back to back, you still have a very good challenge. It’s such a good team, you just normally go out there, do the best that you can, adjust to the moment as they develop and pray that you do an acceptable job and come out of it healthy. That’s all you can do. You can’t really help being in this situation. You’ve got to compete and do the best that you can.

Q. You had said when you came to the Phillies that you were very impressed with their toughness and their bounce-back ability, and the fact that they go out and hang out every day. You’ve been on a lot of teams in this situation. Can you compare those teams with this team in terms of the mindset to play this game.

PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, this team is unique in so many ways. Yesterday, it’s a very good example of resiliency, stubbornness and desire to go out there and win. I’m so thankful to have been part of this team and be able to experience it, because that’s the kind of game I like to see. If I sit at home and I’m watching a baseball game, that’s the kind of attitude I want to see. And it wasn’t just our team. Their team did the same thing. That team never went away. We had a big lead, and it just didn’t feel like it was safe at any point. And those are the kind of games that you pay to watch.

Q. This is the first time in a month and a half that you’ll be pitching on when you normally go on every five days, every fifth day. How has your routine changed for this start compared to the first couple you made in the post-season? Do you like that and do you think it’ll help you?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: I’ve got no choice but to expect that it will help me. I feel really good. I feel like I had enough time to rest, plus the previous two outings with all those days, I guess this is just a makeup from all those days of rest that I had. I’m confident that I’m going to be able to do as much as I can. I can’t really tell you what to expect, but I’m going to go out there and try like I always do. Just try as hard as I can and leave it at that.

Q. You once made a comment about the Bambino, and everybody instantly knew that you were talking about Babe Ruth. Given what you’ve accomplished in baseball and your career right now, do you give yourself the luxury of thinking that 60 years from now somebody might say “Pedey” and everybody would know that they’re talking about Pedro Martinez?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, in some ways I give that to you guys because it took me a while to realize that anything I say, everything I do has a meaning to you. I hope that when I need you for the community work and other things that I’m going to need, I’m going to need help to help people, that you guys actually bring the message across because that will give me help for all those things that I have in mind for after I retire.

But I’m pretty sure that my name will be mentioned. I don’t know in which way. But maybe after I retire, because normally when you die, people tend to actually give you props about the good things. But that’s after you die. (Laughter). So I’m hoping to get it before I die. I don’t want to die and then hear everybody say, “Oh, there goes one of the best players ever.” If you’re going to give me props, just give them to me right now.

So I’m hoping to get my name mentioned, yes, just like Babe Ruth is such a legendary name. I hope that my name is mentioned. But not only as a player. I hope that you guys realize that I’m a human being that really likes to help, that really likes to do things in the community, that’s a fun human being and a great competitor. That’s probably my legacy. I don’t want to just leave a legacy in baseball and be a (expletive deleted) human being. I’m sorry about the word.

I hope I can be remembered more as a human being to take his clothes off to probably give it to a man down the street. I don’t mind doing that any time. I hope I’m mentioned in between all those names, even though I will never put myself in that category. That’s very different. That’s a different level.

Q. You’ve changed speeds a lot and mixed your pitches around to different spots during the course of any given at-bat. You did that in Game 2 quite a bit. Those sequences, how much of those are pre-planned and based on what you know against a hitter you’ve faced a thousand times against a Derek Jeter and how much of that is improvising what they might be expecting in the moment? What’s the balance between planning and improvisation?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: If I say it, honestly you might not believe it, but that’s all created in the middle of the moment. What you see is a combination of experience and instinct. It’s just instinct, surviving. Everybody that grows up in the Dominican and didn’t have a rich life, it’s a survival. That’s what we call it in the Dominican, survival. And in baseball I am a survivor. I’m someone that wasn’t meant to be, and here I am on one big stage. I really thank God for the blessings of being here, because I was supposed to just survive and that’s it. And here you are, guys; I have a lot of you paying attention to me right now. That’s a great joy.

Q. Could you talk about your four years in Montreal and what you learned there as a starter and as a winner in ’94 and playing for Felipe Alou?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: That’s a little far back, but I’m very happy to actually have taken part on that Montreal team. If you ask me, that’s when I became a pitcher. I quit being a thrower over there, I quit being a headhunter like I was labeled in those first few years. That’s where I really became a baseball player, actually, because before then I was just a kid with a good arm that didn’t know what he was doing. 154 soaking wet with a good arm. Felipe and that group of guys that we had, which now Pete Mackanin is part of one of my coaches right now, and last year with Jerry Manuel, one of the coaches that I also had the privilege to change, and that’s where I think I developed myself as a player was in Montreal probably. Without taking anything away from any of the cities I’ve played for, it’s probably one of the most fun cities that you can ever play for. Montreal is always going to be a special place in my heart.

Q. Charlie said he chose you for Games 2 and 6 partly because he knew you could handle the big stage, and I’m wondering if that’s something that came naturally to you or if you developed that as a skill over time?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, I look at this situation as a blessing. I mean, what else would I want? I’m doing the job I love. I’m doing something that not everybody gets to do. If you consider the fact that I was — two months back I was sitting at home not doing anything, none of you were thinking of me whatsoever, none of you were asking me questions, and today I am here, probably pitching one of the biggest games ever in the World Series, two great teams with a whole bunch of legendary players that are going to be. I know when you mention Derek Jeter, you mention Alex Rodriguez, Teixeira. I see those guys as probably the future of the game, the next Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, and Andy Pettitte, those are guys, Mariano Rivera, I get to once again probably experience seeing Mariano again, which I will continue to pay my tickets to go watch. I don’t have enough words to describe how excited I am about being here. This is just a great gift to me. This is a blessing.

Q. Ryan will be an important factor in this next game on offense. He’s certainly struggled a lot and you’ve faced him in the past. What do you think that the Yankee pitchers are doing to have success against him?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, they’re making pitches. They’re really executing their program. I mean, you’re talking about guys, Sabathia, you’re talking about Andy Pettitte, you’re talking about two of the biggest names in baseball pitching against one really good hitter. Out of that match-up you can always expect one thing; one of the two is going to have to fail and one is going to have success. At this time it was Ryan. Well, tomorrow I don’t know. Tomorrow I’m hoping that Ryan makes the adjustment and that for some reason if Andy doesn’t execute, Ryan will probably get the advantage, which is what we want.

But I can tell you one thing: Knowing Andy and knowing the kind of pitcher he is, it’s going to be tough. We all expect it the same way.

Q. You played with and against Johnny Damon. How much of a battler is he at the plate?

PEDRO MARTINEZ: (Laughing) He’s a big-game player, he’s a great player, a great human being. You know, I’m in some ways glad I got to face him to realize how uncomfortable the other guys were feeling when he played with me. He’s a tough out. He’s a tough out, and he’s going to give you a battle, and he’s not going to get unraveled for anything. He’s always going to make it fun. J.D. is just a special human being and a special player. I’m glad he’s doing well, too. That’s one of the guys I will always root for.

 

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