Ortiz on Pedro: He was just throwing knowledge


BOSTON - Anybody lucky enough to watch Pedro Martinez pitch in their lifetime knows why he's going into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

He was, by all accounts, the most electric pitcher in baseball over his career.

When he took the mound, New Englanders knew it. They knew it because it would be on every radio and TV in every household and restaurant around.

It was appointment television. It was the hottest ticket in town when Pedro was pitching at Fenway Park.

So you can only imagine what it was like to play with him.

David Ortiz sat down with CSNNE's Jessica Moran on Saturday and talked length about the teammate and person Martinez was, and it sounds like he had a bigger effect on Ortiz and other members of the Sox than we thought.

"I always say my career has been blessed, after God, being [Martinez's] teammate, being able to be his teammate because I learned so much from him," Ortiz told Moran. "Pedro wasn’t just a pitcher. I call him The Genius. I thought he was from NASA. He has something that will turn on the switch and it doesn’t matter if you were a position player, pitcher, a coach, there was always something you’d learn from Pedro. A fun person to be around, a very fun person. I have a lot of respect for my compadre. I call him my big brother because he treated me just like it and I appreciate every single moment of my career playing right next to him." 

Ortiz went on to say how Martinez used to pull him aside and tell him which pitches to look for in his next at-bat, knowing what the pitcher threw him previously. It worked, too. 

"He was just throwing knowledge," Ortiz said. "I would go there looking for that pitch, hit a homer, and running the bases I was like, 'How does he know that that was going to happen?'"

Ortiz is the only remaining teammate of Martinez's while the two were on the Red Sox.

Now, the team is filled with young players like Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart who only recall seeing Pedro in highlights, but are excited that a member of their organization is going into the Hall of Fame and will have his number retired in a couple days 

Justin Masterson falls in the middle. He didn't play with Martinez, but has been around the Red Sox organization long enough to know more about him than the kids do. Still, he's young enough that he wanted to "be like Pedro" growing up.

"He's incredible. His long fingers I wish I had. The way he throws," Masterson said. "I know when I was a kid, the jerseys were too small in the sleeves, so I cut my sleeve underneath just like he used to. I was just trying to be like Pedro. I had to do it. And I'm sure that's kind of why he did it too, so he'd be more free early on in his career."

While nobody can mimic Martinez's personality, Masterson is one of the happier and good-spirited guys in the clubhouse. He lives by the idea that when you stop having fun, it becomes a job. And nobody showed that more than Martinez, who even in his most serious of moments, loved the game from start to finish. 

And he'll be honored for that amazing career on Sunday, assuredly with plenty of laughs along the way.

"That's his personality. The sarcasm. The fun," Masterson said. "I think that's what helped him stay as long as he did and be as good as he was. I don't think he's ever going to lose that."

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