FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the first time in 135 days, Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez stepped on a pitcher's mound and threw a baseball.
Quality of the stuff after that considerable layoff? In the opinion of one trained observer, "ridiculous." --MLB.com
Pedro Martinez is quickly joining the ranks of my many "boyfriends."
He brought tears to the eyes of Teddy Ballgame in the 1999 All-Star Game. He's one of the few things about the Red Sox that the Yankees envy. He came into the league from the sultry sun of the Dominican throwing pure fire, and has matured and mellowed in the cold of Boston into a precision pitcher with a poker face. Most importanly, a picture of him at the high point of his windup, glaring toward the plate has now taken a place of extreme honor next to a Details magazine portrait of Tom Brady in my bedroom.
He is quite simply, hands down, the finest pitcher in all of baseball right now, and quite possibly, ever.
And, really, to be the finest pitcher in baseball is to really be the single best player in baseball, isn't it? I mean, it seems to be the common wisdom that pitching is the most highly skilled of all the positions on a baseball field. The pitcher seems to be the leader of the team--the quarterback, so to speak, of a baseball club. And pitching talent is the rarest of all--it takes a specially gifted type of person to even make a ball move at 100 miles per hour, let alone in a straight line. It's an even rarer person still who can aim that 100-mph projectile into the upper left, as opposed to the lower right, corner of the catcher's glove. Or make it hover in midair, teasing the batter until it drops, the famous sinker, leaving the batter to give the fans in the box seats a nice breeze.
Pitching wins championships.
If pitchers are the most valuable and skilled players on any team, then Pedro is the MVP of the MVPs. Pedro is a prodigy among prodigies. Pedro's the most valuable player in the league, and we've got him. And he appears to be in top form this year.
Alex Rodriguez my butt. It's time to count our blessings.