There are times when I write this blog that I should be working. Then there are times I really should be working. Then there are times like now, where I kind of should be working, but I’m riding the high of a Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Latte. The secret ingredient is sugar! Anyhow, you can only sort through so many work emails before it dawns on you that PEDRO MARTINEZ IS PITCHING IN THE WORLD SERIES TONIGHT.
Forget that it’s against the Yankees, if only for this paragraph. Pedro. Is pitching. In the World Series. Tonight.
Okay, now you can remember that it was the Yankees. And why this looks oh so very scary for Phans of the Phils.
I love Pedro. He was really, really, really good at baseball once. Actually, he was better than that. Now, he’s merely good. But the Yankees are a whole lot better than good. The last time the Yankees faced Pedro in the playoffs, he gave up two runs in one inning of work in a vanity appearance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. The holdovers from that team are Jeter, A-Rod, Matsui and Posada (on offense), and the Yankees will bring the firepower with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and, mostly absurdly, Johnny Damon.
Yes, Pedro the Phillie will pitch the Damon the Yankee in the bottom of the first inning. Egads.
The one thing Pedro has going for him is that he’s got absolutely nothing to lose. I think pretty much everyone expects him to fail tonight, with a 5-inning, 2-run performance serving as the best-case scenario. And really, against this lineup that wouldn’t be bad. He’s not the guy who struck out 17 Yankees any more. He’s not even the guy who signed with the Mets. He’s Jordan with the Wizards, coming out of exile to throw his remaining skills at the wall and see what sticks.
Last night, he gave a doozy of a press conference where he said:
I remember quotes in the paper, ‘Here comes the man that New York loves to hate.’ Man? None of you have probably ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what the man is about. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things, have written so many things.
There’s only one guy who can get away with saying that, and it’s Pedro. He knows he’ll still be the man when tonight’s game is over, win or lose. And that is the single biggest thing he has going for him.