Rollin’

(photo from Boston.com)

Guess that answered that question, didn’t it? Honestly, I don’t see what the debate is. When Pedro Martinez, the best pitcher to ever don a Red Sox uniform takes the mound at Fenway tonight, you will stand and you will cheer. There are no two ways about it.

“But we booed Johnny Damon.”

Yup. Damon’s a Yankee. We booed that more than we booed him. You don’t leave the Sox and go to the Yankees. Especially after specifically saying you wouldn’t. It’s just not done. That uniform supercedes a lot of things.

“But Pedro left for the Mets.”

Pretty sure the Mets are not the Yankees.

“But he left for the money.”

Uh huh. Or maybe he left to pitch more years in a weaker division in the NL where he could continue to be dominating for a bit longer.

“But…”

Look, we can go at this all day. There are lots of reasons Pedro left. But as far as I’m concerned, Pedro Martinez was the best, most dominating pitcher I’ve ever seen. And I’d like to think we can thank him for that. As well as for being One of the 25. We cheered O-Cab. We cheered D-Lowe. We cheered Dave Roberts. Man, can you imagine what would happen if the Dodgers played an interleague series at Fenway? Bill Mueller would get a HUGE ovation. And I’d bet money we’d cheer Nomar too. Grady Little? Not so much. And this is Pedro we’re talking about here. Pedro effing Martinez. The guy’s a maestro. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I still love the guy. I suspect I’m not alone. Johnny Damon was never truly one of ours. Pedro was. We haven’t forgotten that.

I also really, really, really miss the Pedro and Manny Comedy Hour. How these two have not landed their own show in the offseason is beyond me. Can you just imagine them prank calling Theo to ask if his refrigerator is running and then messing up the punchline and giggling like two five-year-olds after snorting a handful of Pixie Stix? Braiding each other’s hair and swapping wrist bands? Drinking Mountain Dew and spinning around in circles in the outfield until they threw up? I’m not the only one who would pay to watch this, right?

But that’s all tonight. How about last night’s game? How about Jon Lester, fully realizing that this show is bigger than him, knuckling down and delivering when he had to? You just don’t know about the rookies, is the thing. You don’t know how they’re going to react, especially against a good team. And the Mets, as presently constituted, are a good team. But I like this Lester fellow. Or, as a reader dubbed him, Ensign #2.

And poor, misguided Jose Reyes, thinking he’s gonna win in a head-to-head collision with Jason Varitek. Silly man. If the brick wall at Camden Yards couldn’t defeat Tek, you think some puny, little infielder is gonna do it? According to the MLB listed stats, Tek has two inches and 55 pounds on Reyes. Yeah, my money’s on the Captain.

I would also like to point out that since Marianne and I stumbled upon Alex Gonzalez’s Nickelback mojo, his average has gone up 70 points. I’m just sayin’.

So this team is cruisin’. Kickin’ ass and takin’ names. I suspect Mike Timlin and his camo glove are behind this (photo courtesy of Sam). But tonight it’s a battle of the rock stars. Martinez vs. Beckett. Jheri Curl vs. Fat Head. Often, when pitching matchups are hyped so much, they fall short. Like all those Pedro vs. Clemens duels everyone worked themselves into a lather about. I seem to remember Clemens folding like a card table in most of those (which is why Pedro, not Clemens, is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen). But tonight could be a good one. I can’t wait. Welcome back, Petey. Welcome home.

Additionally, I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Peter Gammons. Gammons and my dad combined to instill in me a love of baseball, and baseball writing. And I’ve long marveled at what a head for the game, and the words to describe it, Gammons has. I doubt there is a more respected and revered sportswriter working today. Get well soon, Gammo. We miss you already.

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