Well, we found our ace...and I'm a believer...
Pedro Martinez is an artist. Watching him last night didn't give me the same visceral thrill of watching most athletes--the Tom Bradys and Curt Schillings and Mannys of the world. It was something much more refined and subtle than that.
Don't get me wrong, I don't know much about pitching. I couldn't tell you a cutter from a slider from a changeup. But I know unfettered grace when I see it, and last night, it was on the pitcher's mound for seven innings at the Toronto Skydome.
That's why I say Pedro's an artist. He works batters the way Michaelangelo worked paint. Inside, outside, up the middle--as they put it on the post-game show, he had people "trying to hit on marbles" which I thought was a beautiful phrase.
He doesn't have that heat anymore. He has to lean a lot harder on his off-speed pitches instead of blow-by fastballs. He's visibly older, heavier, than in his prime. He moves slower, and has among the awkwardest postures I've ever seen, elbows tucked back, shoulders heaved backwards, forearms held awkwardly by the hips, even when he stands still.
But artists ripen with age. The higher their handicaps, the more heroic their feats of mastery.
So, the velocity is hanging in the mid 80's on Pedro Martinez. He doesn't have that heat anymore. He's not the god he used to be. Now he's just a man with a gift from heaven, adding bravery and determination to the mix.