New York Mets ace Pedro Martinez fired plenty of early-season shots at his former team, the Boston Red Sox, in particular lashing out against what he perceives as a trashing of his reputation as a villain during a long interview with the Boston Herald.
“Because I didn’t let Theo (Epstein) or the Red Sox decide my life, my future, I’m a bad man now,” said Martinez, who gave up three hits and struck out 12 but had a no-decision in the Mets' 7-6 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. “Judging from what I’ve seen, and what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, that’s how I’m being portrayed.
“I did my job. I think I did that all seven years I was there. Everyone seems to have forgotten about that. A lot of the fans probably remember, but they’re selling me as a negative. I’m not saying all the fans. But some have forgotten.”
Martinez also told the Herald he doesn't care if he gets his World Series ring from last year's championship team.
“If they want to keep the ring, that’s fine,” he said. “I just know I contributed to that team to win, and I’m proud of it. They can never erase what I did in Boston. Most important, I had a job in Boston for seven years, and I appreciate that. And that’s the most important thing. I had a job, and I did what I had to do in my job. Every time I could pitch, I did. Hurting, or not hurting.”
“I’m not going to take back what I said. I wanted to stay in Boston. Hearing Theo talk today on ESPN, saying they wanted to spread my money around, and keep Jason, that’s a smart thing to do. He could afford to get rid of all of us, except Jason. I can appreciate that, but there was no need to mistreat my name.
“I can understand the business part of it. I can understand, I can live with the business part of it, not being able to afford me, or thinking I’m not that good, but I cannot understand the part where you mistreat my name, or mistreat what I did for the city of Boston because they have to build another image of me.
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, said that he is enjoying being a Met.
“I think I’m starting to settle in as a player, as a teammate, and also about the way we’re going to play the game,” he told the Boston Herald. “Other parts are yet to be seen, how I’m going to fit in New York. I don’t know how the response is going to be. I’m just really concentrated on doing my job, really giving my team the opportunity I hope I can give them.
“I’m trying to have fun along the way. I’m not going to let the same thing happen to me again, where I’m going to corner myself in Boston, and not have a chance to enjoy the city, and have a response from the people, and let them get close to me.
“I couldn’t trust anyone (in Boston). I was such a big icon in Boston,” Martinez added. “Everything I did, even driving my car, was scary. So I’m not going to let the same thing happen in New York. Boston was so small, everywhere you went, you were recognized. At least here (in New York), I have places to breathe, places I can probably go to the park without being recognized. I’m not going to make myself miserable for the next four years and at least try to have fun, and continue to work hard, like I’ve always done.”
Martinez also talked about the criticism he took from ex-pitching peer Curt Schilling, who suggested earlier that Martinez got special treatment from the Red Sox.
“If it’s more time in the gym, then yes, I got special treatment,” Martinez told the Herald. “I asked Schilling a lot of times to run with me, he couldn’t. I could run distance like nobody on the team. And, I spent a lot more time in the gym than anybody else because I was hurt in 2001 and nobody knows what I did to rehab. So is that special treatment? I’ll give it to anybody else that wants it.”
“Me and Schilling got along really well," Martinez added. "There was never, ever anything bad, or any disagreement on anything. I don’t really understand why the comments came out about my work habits. If anybody knows my work habits, there’s no way to fool anybody.
“I don’t know if Schilling said it, but if Schilling said it, he doesn’t know me all that well. Those are things Schilling should have never said if he said it, as a player. If he didn’t say it, I guess I expect that from the media in Boston.”
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