In today’s New York Times, an article about the softer side of Pedro Martinez reveals the ace pitcher’s secret love: gardening. “Don’t ask me to be a pitcher in my next life,” this new, sensitive Pedro told the reporter. “It’s too painful.”
Just how painful? A $4 million six-bedroom turreted Tudor mansion on 8 acres in Greenwich, Connecticut kind of painful. The NYT description reads like landscaping porn:
A winding paved driveway leads to his house, which is about a quarter of a mile from the road. Two waterfalls trickle down a 20-foot-tall formation of rocks. In the distance is a pond big enough for a rowboat. Chipmunks scurry between the shrubs. Bumblebees bounce from tulip to tulip. The sound of birds chirping is so constant that it seems like a piped-in recording on the property, which a landscaper helps Martínez maintain. Beneath the porte-cochere sits his white Hummer.
Okay, I don’t even know what a porte-cochere is and I don’t live in some sort of Edenic suburban fairyland. All I know is, this hardly sounds like the same man I knew and loved when he pitched for the Red Sox. Back then, he was called El Duro–the Hard One. Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?
In 2000, he told Sports Illustrated:
“I’m not afraid of hitting anyone because I can put the ball where I want to. I only hit nine guys last year. When I do hit them, it’s usually just a nibble. I can nibble their jersey with the ball. That’s how much I can control the ball.”
And in 2006, in the New York Times:
“If something hurts, it disappears when you are in the garden.”
Remember, in 2000 with the Sox:
“The plate,” he says. “It looks so close. There are days when I first get out to the mound and it feels just like this, like the plate is closer than it’s supposed to be. Then I know right away. It’s over. You are f—–. F—–.”
And now, with the Mets:
“What about you, beauty? Aren’t you going to grow up to be so pretty?”
That was directed at a tulip.
Pedro, I miss you and your 0.86 WHIP. I will always remember you fondly, as you once were: