It was a genuine lovefest for Pedro Martinez at Fenway Park last night. Over 35,000 Red Sox fans let Pedro know exactly what he meant to them over seven fabulous years he pitched for the Sox. Every time he popped out the dugout before the game the ovations for him were loud, and after the game he appreciated all the love Boston showed for him.
I was proud of the fans at Fenway last night, and the huge crowd that I was a part of at Professor Thom's. It was the biggest crowd of the year at the bar. As the crowd at Fenway stood and cheered, the Sox fans at the bar did exactly the same. It was a great moment to be a part of. Pedro handled the moment with class, and deep down I know he wishes he could thank every Red Sox fan in person for all the affection they showed him.
(I wonder what that guy who refers to him as "Pay-dro," on a web site I will not dignify by naming, thought as Pedro was taking the mound last night. Actually I really don't care, as he and his site have been disgraced and his credibility destroyed by his ugly racist rants.)
But the love ended there. The Red Sox came to play, and the first two Sox hitters singled, before David Ortiz grounded back to Pedro, and it seemed like an easy DP. But he looked at Kevin Youkilis going to third, never looked at second, and threw Big Papi out at first. A brain lock by Pedro. That opened the door for Jason Varitek's two-run single, and then a two base, two-run error by Lastings Milledge in left (why wasn't he playing right last night?) made it 4-0.
It was clear that the emotion of the night took it's toll on Pedro, as he got hammered for four more runs in the third, as he gave up a two-run homer to the hot Alex Gonzalez, and that made it 8-0. The fans in the bar applauded, but at that point I would bet most felt the way I did: uncomfortable. I didn't want to see this happen to Pedro. It was his worst outing of his Mets career, and Willie Randolph pulled him after the inning.
The Red Sox went on to win, 10-2, behind 7 2/3 strong innings by Josh Beckett, who won his 10th game. He got a standing ovation as he left the game. After Pedro's ovations earlier in the game, it was like a symbolic "passing of the torch" to Beckett.
It was also the Sox' 11th straight win, their longest winning streak since 1995. It was also their 15th consecutive errorless game, which ties the AL record set by the Texas Rangers in 1996. They can tie the MLB record tonight, which was set by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1992.
To say they are hot, and clicking on all cylinders, is an understatement.
Once again, thanks for everything Pedro. We're all glad you enjoyed the night last night, even if it turned out badly for you and the Mets on the scoreboard. We won't remember that.
The picture above is what we'll always treasure.
Thanks for always being "One of the 25."