Considering all he’s done for Boston, there’s just one thing the Fenway faithful can possibly do when he scales the Fenway Park mound Wednesday night for the first time since chasing the free-agent bonanza to the New York Mets after the 2004 season.
They’ve got to boo him like no one not named Roger Clemens has ever been booed in Boston’s little jewel of a ballpark. They’ve got to hiss and scream and bellow until the air is congested with spittle. They’ve got to boo his backside back to that mango tree in the Dominican Republic he once talked about sitting under.
I’m just as confident that Red Sox Nation will come through on this one as I am that the coming fall lineup of network television shows will plumb new depths in personal abasement.
I’m equally confident that a majority of commentators will spend the next day talking about what a shame it is that Boston’s fans didn’t give Pedro the love and respect he is due for all the great things he did for the franchise.
If anything else happens — the fans cheering wildly or the commentators congratulating them for booing boisterously or no one taking notice of the occasion at all — I’d be as shocked as I would be if the president let slip that his favorite newspaper is The New York Times and his favorite news channel is MSNBC. I’d also be as disappointed as I’d be if I set out to construct a hot fudge sundae and discovered I was out of whipped cream.
For the fans, Pedro’s return to Fenway shouldn’t be about doing what’s right by their former hero. If sports started working that way, the entire player-fan dynamic would be turned on its head.
He used to play there, and then he went to not just another town, but to the hated Big Apple. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t sign with the New York Yankees, because the Mets haven’t occupied a terribly choice piece of real estate in Boston hearts since 1986 and that episode with Bill Buckner.
It also doesn’t matter that he left Boston because the Mets offered him more money for more years than the Red Sox were willing to pay. Nor does it matter that a substantial number of Boston fans felt the team was making a good move by letting him go. He did, after all, have a talent for saying annoying things, and, as everyone knew, his shoulder was damaged goods, and his arm was probably going to fall off within the next month or two anyway. The really, really smart baseball people said that the Mets were fools to give a guy like that four years, when the odds were high he wouldn’t last that long.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
June 27: Pedro Martinez says he won't mind if Boston fans boo him Wednesday, because they're supporting their team.
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