Pedro Martinez in the Baseball Hall of Fame
I scan the sports pages of the Boston Globe nearly every day, a hold-over from my childhood. An interest in pro sports and in big-time college sports still takes the edge off the day now and then, but for the most part the sports fan in me rests in my inner child and in memories of my boys when they were younger. Spectator sports are most suited to certain young people when they are coming into the strength of their bodies. Great athletes inspire children and adolescents to learn athletic skills, to train their bodies and to compete in cooperation with teammates within rules of a game.
Fenway Park has been a minor harbor of heaven for me and my family. Every summer my sons and I make 2-3 pilgrimages together to Fenway. We usually take the Green Line and walk up Yawkey Way to the park, past the guys selling water, t-shirts and caps.
When he was very young, Nate brought his baseball glove for autographs and foul balls. He used to buy a pack of baseball cards for a souvenir on our way out of the park.
Two players stand out from those years of my boys’ childhoods, Nomar and Pedro. Garciaparra’s extended pregame warm-up and stretching routine on the grass in front of the Red Sox dugout kept him in front of young autograph seekers until just before the national anthem. His compulsive pre-pitch routine with his batting gloves was tedious, but in those few years when he was in his prime and hadn’t been injured I thought I was watching the best baseball player ever.
Pedro Martinez grew up in poverty Dominican Republic. When he pitched for the Red Sox he was tenacious, fearless and focused, all the time. A power pitcher and a control pitcher, you could see his indomitable spirit coming through everything he did on the mound and in the dugout.