Last night Pedro Martinez, who was back in town to help raise money for the Jimmy Fund and the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation, spoke to reporters at the Liberty Hotel in downtown Boston. Click here for the story that ran in the Red Sox notes, but Martinez also went on to talk about the prospect of him pitching next season, Manny Ramirez, and steroids.
Here’s the Q&A.
How long would it take you to get ready to pitch this season?
“Probably not too long, because once you get your body in shape the throwing program is only like a month and a half and spring training isn’t ever here yet.
“I wish everybody would stop thinking about that because I don’t think I’m going to [come back]. Some [teams] expressed their wishes, saying that I could probably go back, but I just said no. I was really specific at the time. I said, ‘I’m not going to go.’ After I lost my dad I realized that family comes first. I realized that I had achieved enough to actually have a successful career and also to be happy with it.
“After losing my dad, I didn’t feel like anything else mattered and that’s when everything just got to me. I wanted to make sure I gave my family the time they needed before I blew it. I’m actually doing that. I’m doing really good at spending time with the family.”
Why do you think Manny Ramirez is trying to come back?
“Because he wasn’t ready to leave. He wasn’t ready to make sure that whatever he had in mind was as important as baseball. I just don’t think he’s comfortable.
“Everybody is different. Manny, I think misses baseball. He missed the things he did to stay away from thinking too much and I think Manny is realizing that he should have stayed in baseball a little bit longer.”
“It’s really sad to see Manny struggle that way [referring to his recent legal troubles]. I know that Manny is misunderstood a lot and not everybody gets to know him like I know him. Thank god we’re really close in Florida and I’m able to see him from time to time, but even I was surprised to see Manny struggle the way he did after he got away from baseball.”
“I’m pretty sure he was disappointed that he got suspended for 100 games and he didn’t feel like he wanted to go and spend 100 days waiting for his chance to play. I’m glad it was reduced to 50 games, so he can probably get back, show everybody that he’s being real, and that he’s going to be a role model from now on.”
How do you feel about players accused of using steroids not making the Hall of Fame?
“I’ll be really sad to see guys that did so well not be able to go in with some of us. But at the same time it’s a matter of responsibility. You make your choices and you’re going to have to carry over with the consequences.”
“I’m glad I didn’t do [steroids], even though I was criticized for missing one or two or three starts a year for sometimes being in pain and expressing it.” (Pedro talked about how player recovery times were significantly less when they were using steroids)
“I’m glad I did it clean, and I’m really extremely sorry for those guys that have to make that decision to go the wrong way, because I know baseball is hard enough to play by itself, and now carrying over such a bad reputation is not anything you want to have after such a beautiful job and a beautiful career. It’s sad but it’s your choice and you’re responsible for the steps you take.”
Do you ever think about what might lay ahead three years from now? (referring to his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2015)
“To me, it seems like time is flying and I try not to think about it, but everybody on the streets reminds me what’s coming. So I normally hear it, but I’m not worried about it. It will be definitely a great honor to be called to the Hall of Fame and be part of so many good payers and probably the cream of baseball.”
Seth Lakso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org