“I understand business and understand the ugly face of baseball, which is the business part of baseball.” ~Pedro Martinez
It took him longer than humanly possible to retire, but when he did, Pedro Martinez left the game as one of the most perplexing, dramatic and dominant pitchers in baseball. Now that he has retired (finally), his numbers are beyond reproach when it comes to the voting curmudgeons of Cooperstown.
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He retires with three Cy Young awards and eight All-Star selections. He had a career record of 219-100 — that’s a .687 winning percentage, kids. He threw 46 complete games, boasts a 2.93 ERA and had 3,154 strikeouts. Four times, he led the American League in ERA and three times he led it in strikeouts. His finest season was with the Boston Red Sox in 1999 when he won the American League pitching triple crown by going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. And if that weren’t salty enough, the next year, he claimed the lowest WHIP season in baseball history of 0.7373 (that is “walks plus hits per inning” — a sabermetric that means … well, it means he was a badass on the mound.)
That was Pedro Martinez, pitcher. Surly. Fierce. Mean. Someone who made the ugly face of baseball what it was. Now, we have a chance to meet the business side of things with Pedro Martinez, color commentator for TBS? What!?
Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS) put out a press release announcing its new hire, claiming, along with the Boston Red Sox-colored confetti:
“Pedro has a Hall of Fame caliber resume and we look forward to adding his relevant, insightful opinions and analysis to our deep roster of established commentators this postseason,” said Craig Barry, senior vice president and executive creative director of Turner Sports.
Martinez joins a team rich with skins on the wall but not so much in the booth — Cal Ripken, John Smoltz, Dennis Eckersley, Buck Martinez, Ron Darling and MLB insider Tom Verducci. Some of those men are known for a tepid opinion or two, but none has thrown the verbal brush backs like Pedro. As an Associated Press article said:
Martinez was never shy in front of a microphone in his 18-year major-league career, most memorably with the Red Sox. From “Wake up the damn Bambino … maybe I’ll drill him in the ass,” to “Just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy,” the words were blunt and bountiful.
If he brings nasty curves and blatant fastballs for the medulla like that to the press box, Pedro Martinez may never be called out for relief. He may even bring TBS that thing in TV called ratings. Only one brief memo to Cal Ripken: Either watch out sitting next to Pedro Martinez or dye your silver hair. We, um, remember what happened last time he got close to a senior citizen. (Shout out to Don Zimmer and his broken hip.)