Carolina Martinez catches us up on her and Pedro’s life after baseball

Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic--Pedro Martinez and wife Carolina at the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation.355 kids go to their before school and after school programs for kids 5-15
Pedro Martinez and wife Carolina in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic. –Globe Archives

Sign up for Boston Globe's 108 Stitches newsletter and be entered to win a four-pack of tickets to the Red Sox home game on August 28th.  Get everything baseball, straight from the desk of Alex Speier. Mon-Fri during the season, and weekly in the offseason.

He’s been retired from the game since 2009, but Pedro Martinez is far from removed from the sport of baseball. Martinez, who pitched seven seasons in Boston, works as an on-air personality for the MLB Network and as a Red Sox special assistant. But for those who don’t have time to catch him on camera, the retired Red Sox legend’s Twitter feed is chock full of takes as well.

After Sunday night’s NLCS contest between the Dodgers and the Cubs, Martinez shared a number of his postgame thoughts, including praise for a former teammate. Los Angeles’ manager Dave Roberts was also a member of Boston’s 2004 World Series squad.

Advertisement

According to his wife, Carolina, baseball talk infiltrates their home as well. Given Pedro’s love for the game, and the fact that both their children are pursuing baseball careers, it should come as no surprise. And on November 3, fans will get the opportunity to join the conversation, too.

The Pedro Martinez Charity is hosting its second annual gala in Boston, giving attendees the chance to mingle with players like David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Rafael Devers. The proceeds from the event will go toward hurricane relief efforts — a cause that is near and dear to the Pedro and Carolina’s hearts because the Dominican Republic was one of the Caribbean islands that was hit by Hurricane Maria.

The couple’s charity work has been central to their post-baseball life and has been an instrumental factor is helping them stay as closely connected to the city of Boston as they are. Carolina spoke with Boston.com about their other retirement endeavors, how they manage expectations for their sons, and more:

What else have you guys been up to since retirement? 

CM: We have been really busy because Pedro has been doing his broadcasting but is also working on launching the Spanish translation of his book, his autobiography, that will be done by the end of the year, and also his documentary. That is keeping us very busy besides doing lots of work with the Pedro Martinez Charity.

Advertisement

We are really enjoying retirement. He is enjoying retirement. I think he’s doing an interesting crossover from being on the mound to being on the cameras. He’s having fun, and most importantly, his analysis is getting the same respect that he got when he was playing baseball in the sense that it’s really thoughtful. Fans really like to see him on TV, like to listen to his analysis, and that’s really important feedback for us.

How would you describe the differences between being with him during the season and watching him on TV? 

CM: It’s kind of the same person but in different perspectives. Just because on the field, he was really competitive. He’s naturally really energetic, so I think TV gives him the opportunity to show that side of his personality — funny, charismatic — that he sometimes couldn’t show on the field. From my perspective, I love watching him on TV because he can be more of himself.

Just like fans used to love him when he was not pitching. He was funny, he was always coming up with stuff in the dugout for his teammates, he was like the cheerleader of the team. That’s kind of what he portrays on TV, like that funny character that everybody I think people gravitated towards when he was here in Boston.

What is your favorite memory of Pedro on the diamond?

CM: That’s a tough one. As a Red Sox, I think it was when they won the World Series. He called me from the clubhouse. For him, I know that was an amazing accomplishment because that’s what he intended to do when he got here. He was hired by Dan Duquette to come to the city and bring a trophy. For me, that represents the highlight of the memories with the Red Sox.

Advertisement

Personally, the 2009 World Series, when he was with the Phillies, are really fond to my heart. We were all in Yankees Stadium and that was his last game of his career. I don’t think he wanted to retire yet. I don’t think it was in mind, and neither was it in ours as a family, but just a memory of having him walk off the mound in that last game versus the Yankees. For me, I think that’s the most beloved memory because that’s the last time we saw him in a uniform.

How often would you travel with him during season and go to games? 

CM: When he was here, I was going to Boston College, so I was busy with school, so I would go on-and-off. When we went to the Mets, we got married, and I traveled a little bit more with him.

It was a really demanding schedule and that was probably one of the reasons why he rushed his retirement, I think, because they get tired of hotels, of traveling, of eating hotel food. I think by the time, they’re 38, 39, they’re ready to just be home. Some of them. Some of them just keep playing, but some of them are ready to say goodbye to that lifestyle. I know he misses the competition, but I know he doesn’t miss the traveling or the hotels.

How is your relationship with David Ortiz?

CM: We’re really close, especially now that they’ve moved to Miami. We’ve gone fishing, I think they’re in a good transition now of getting used to the Florida lifestyle that’s different than New England. We’ve become really close.

I think he and Pedro have that big brother-little brother-type relationship, where David often goes to him for advice and counseling, and Pedro’s happy to give it to him.

Did you follow his story lines in the media? What did you think about their portrayal of Pedro?

CM: I think because Boston is such a small town, it’s normal for the athletes that perform for Boston teams to be in the limelight a lot. With Pedro, I think the take he had on the media was really interesting because he was not afraid to necessarily to speak his mind.

At that point, he became the highest paid player on the team, so I think he expected that pressure to be on him because of his contract, because he was a Latino presence in the city, and because he was opinionated. Even though it caused some strife with the media, I think the media kind of enjoyed getting quotes from him. He didn’t mind speaking his mind and being carefree with what he wanted to do and say.

Today, we see it, we laugh, and we think it’s funny. But back in those days, it was a little bit more of a back and forth. Nothing got out of control, which is good because up until this day, we can still see the respect he has and receives from the media, as well as the respect that he gives the media. Thank God it was just an in-the-moment thing and never carried on to any bad resentment.

The Detroit Tigers recently signed Pedro Martinez Jr. to a minor league deal. How do you manage the baseball expectations for him? 

CM: One of the good things is that he’s not going to be a pitcher, so that definitely will diminish the comparisons a little bit. He’s a third baseman. I think Pedro has made it really clear to his sons that they don’t have to be him, they don’t have to become him. Because there’s also Pedro Pablo Martinez Jr. that’s playing. He plays in Florida.

I know that as a dad, Pedro wants his sons to have their own identity. And I think he has communicated that to them really well. Even though the expectations are going to be there regardless, emotionally for them, they are clear that they don’t need to be up to daddy’s expectations.

They’re both infielders, they’re not pitchers. They’re both really different than Pedro, even body types and everything. I think they’re in a good spot for them to keep on doing what Daddy did but in their own way, shape, and form. For them, it’s probably going to be easier, or it could be harder, to not start from scratch but to start where Pedro left off. Sometimes that could be a double-edged sword. But we are hoping and praying that they’ll both do good.

Does Pedro ever give them little pointers or try to coach them? 

CM: Oh yeah, all the time. There’s always some bumping heads because the kids, you know, really think they know best. But he coaches them. When he’s not home, they send videos, and he can tell just looking at the videos: ‘You’re off here, you’re off there.’ It’s great having a coach like him.

Is there a lot of baseball talk at home? 

CM: Yes, yes. I personally enjoy when we’re watching a game because it’s like watching him fight the TV, no matter who’s playing. That’s one of my highlights of the day, when there’s a baseball game and we’re watching it together. Sometimes I feel tempted to do like a Facebook Live or an Instagram story just because it’s so… You know, as a former player, they become really critical.

One of the tweets that he recently tweeted was about how he hadn’t seen a hit-by-a-pitch during the playoffs yet and he used the hashtag “#differentimes.”

So you know, when they’re old school, they have their own little book of baseball and how things should go. I enjoy when we’re watching it, that this generation is a different generation with a different mindset. He enjoys them too, but at the same time, he’s like, ‘This is not what I expected,’ or ‘This pitcher, you know, pisses me off. They don’t pitch inside enough. They don’t have the guys. They don’t have the heart,’ or ‘I wish that would be me, 20 years ago.’

It’s just really funny to hear his commentary. I’ve felt tempted many times just to start a Facebook Live because I’m a baseball fan myself, so I always put myself in the shoes of fans and think about what they would enjoy. But no, I don’t do it. I just think about it. But it’s great. We always talk baseball, all the time.

What’s something that fans would be surprised to know about Pedro? 

CM: I think people are surprised that he is in love with flowers. He loves flowers, he loves gardening. He talks to flowers. That’s what he used to do before pitching, actually. That was his therapy. He would go and he would clip them and just talk to them. It’s something that he inherited from his mom because she used to do that with him when he was younger. Whenever he had some kind of, you know, he’s always had a character since he was a little boy, snappy, you know? What she used to do is she used to bring him over with her to the garden, and she would tell him, ‘This will calm you down.’ So then that’s what he started to do.

He carried that with him, and on his pitching days, he used to go out to the garden in our home, and he used to clip flowers and talk to them. And get rid of the dry ones. I think that’s something that baseball fans might find interesting because he’s such a beast on the field, but he has a really tender heart.

Is there a particular flower that he likes the most? 

CM: He loves them all. He’s been trying to get the Boston landscaping over to the Dominican, but I keep telling him that’s not going to be possible. Weather-wise, they are so different. Over there it is humid and dry. Here, even in the summer, it is still nice. It’s not the Caribbean. But he has tried. We’ve brought some seeds over to our home, but they don’t last. He loves all the flowers, though. He doesn’t have one favorite in particular. Whatever blossoms, he’s like, ‘Aw that’s so pretty.’