Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Goodbye Pedro

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of folks who are saying good riddance to Pedro Martinez, who most people know has left the Red Sox for a 4 year, $53m deal with the New York Mets.

Pedro's had a lot to say about the Red Sox, the front office, and the negotiations that took place -- none of it good. Many people are accusing him of simply leveraging the Sox to get a better offer. I've seen no proof to say that's the case.

Much of what Pedro has said echoes what Derek Lowe, Todd Walker, Jason Varitek,Nomar Garciaparra, and a number of other free agents have said about the Sox brass and their negotiations. Some of it is sour grapes, but there's probably an inkling of truth to it. The Red Sox front office has a philosophy and they stick to it. Part that philosophy seems to involve leaking stories to the press to spin the PR in favor of the front office and against the player. I'm not sure if it is systemic, or if it's one random guy in the front office, but it is obviously happening (c.f. the Manny Ramirez stories from 2003). It is easily the least attractive aspect of an organization that has had very few missteps since they purchased the team a couple of years back.

Hell, maybe if we had a real sports media in Boston stuff like this wouldn't happen. Instead we're stuck with Dan Shaugnessy, Tony Massarotti, and Steve Buckley doing most of the heavy lifting in Sox coverage. Between the three of them, I don't think there's a popular baseball player they couldn't defame.

The point being -- I hold no ill will towards Pedro. He put together arguably the best stretch of pitching ever in his 7 years in Boston and was instrumental in the Red Sox winning the World Series. I find his willingness to speak his mind refreshing in the days when 99% of players soundbites are interchangeable. I also feel he's more likely to earn his money over the next 4 seasons than will Jason Varitek, Matt Clement, or even Edgar Renteria.

But he'll be doing it for the Mets, and that makes me sad. I can't root for the Mets, but I'll be rooting for Pedro each time he pitches (as long as it's not against the Sox).

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