The Return...the question...

It has not been officially confirmed that Pedro has physically returned to Fenway, but he is "scheduled to appear" on the premesis this very day. He is further "scheduled" to pitch against his former team, our beloved Boston Red Sox, Wednesday evening. Granted, Red Sox fans are used to him making a dramatically late entrance...especially when it came to Spring Training. But there is an air of excitement about the series between the Sox and the Mets, a nostalgic excitement.

This is something I've been waiting for.

However, I don't know if I'm more excited to see the legend return to Fenway Park, or to see how the fans react to his return. It's a quandry. Do we cheer for him? He left us. He left us for a bigger paycheck. Abandoned us after being a part of the infamous 2004 World Champion Team. But isn't that exactly what we were begging for in October of 2003? Red Sox fans all over the world still ask the question of the millenia..."why did Grady allow him to stay in?" Regardless of the time that has passed, the team that has changed, the World Championship year that followed the thing that remains is Red Sox fans don't forget easily. Just ask Grady Little. How many times did we have to hear the disshevelling chant "Who's Your Daddy?" in 2004 when Pedro admitted to the press that he couldn't fight or win against the Yankees. Can you really boo the guy when we all prayed that he'd return to the Dominican to sit under his fabled mango tree?

My most vivid memory of Game 7 in the '04 ALCS is sitting in my friend's apartment after several nights of ritualistic superstitious beer drinking, pizza eating, and seat occupation. Everyone sat in the seat they had the game before...when the Sox started winning. The guys would make predictions as to how the game events would play by balancing a golf ball on a tee in a globe filled with water. We believed wholeheartedly that what we were doing directly effected the play of the Boston Red Sox. The game was moving at a steady pace, Joe Buck's arrogant and obnoxious commentary had just been relieved by a commercial break, the Sox were in the lead and life was a little crazy. My friend turns to those of us designated to the couch, from his assigned seat in his chair and says: "Is anyone else wondering how they are going to f**k this up?" His mouth had barely closed on the last word when the commercial break was over and the cameras showed a smiley Pedro Martinez taking the field to pitch in the game. This, quite possibly, was one of the legendary moments that the Nation of Red Sox managed a collective lump in their throats. started making a commercial for the episode that very second. My breathing is staggered at the memory alone.

My phone rings...caller ID shows "Mom & Dad." I pick up the phone as another commercial has made it's way to the screen so Petey can take some warm up throws, and moreover so Sox fans can go throw up.

"Hello?" I answer, verging on tears.
"Mom, you need to calm down." My eyes welling up. Not just because of the return of perpetual disappointment that every Red Sox fan felt at times like this, but because Mary (who yes, will be more than peeved that I directly quoted her...though I did substitue a few "hells" in place of actual "f-bombs) had just made me laugh so hard it was the only thing that could dislodge the chokehold some unknown being had on my heart at that very moment.

Pedro came in, and was almost as quickly shelved. Insert "sigh of relief" here. There were no more phone calls from Mary that night. The Red Sox won, and history was made. Tears that flowed were tears of joy and clarity. Not only had the Sox come back from 3 losses, they swept their way past the Yankees to get to the World Series...and they won that too.

Now, there are parades in Boston, and at Disney World and everyone is still focusing on Curt Schilling's bloody sock and his Gladiator-esque performance in the games. The talk focuses on his coming to the team, and Pedro is knocked down more than a few pegs. Light dawns on alleged contract highlights for Schilling, including a bonus if the Red Sox won the World Series...which (and I'll never tire of reminding you)...they did!! Pedro is pretty much shaded by the mango tree again, in the form of Schilling's bloody sock. So when the joy dies down just a little and it's time to talk about next year...Pedro is a free agent and is being shopped around. The Red Sox didn't make the offer he wanted to hear, or felt he deserved to he moved south to New York. And while he didn't join the Yankees, he still went for the team that killed us all in '86. And as most players that leave the Red Sox do, he's doing pretty well for his new team. Granted, Nomar hit a homer off him on 6/6/06...and as Brad Paisley sang..."I live for little moments like that."

So now he's back in Beantown, and the question is we cheer his return...or welcome him like we did Johnny Damon? I love this game, and I love being a fan of this game. I more than anything love being a Red Sox fan for this game. I'm consistently surprised by fan reaction. Everyone has their story, their heartbreak, their tale of joy. One of the best Fenway crowd welcome back's was this year for Doug Mirabelli...beautiful. Everyone has their opinion on Clemens, and Jimy Williams, and (I can't even type the guy's name with the Mets in town and '86 on everyone's mind!)...I'll just call him Blank Blankner. Tonight could go either way for Pedro. One thing is for sure, this will be a very interesting series.

I can't wait!!


At 1:01 PM, Blogger JoviFan said...

Can I applaud the Jerry Curl? I mean, I would be quite happy to boo Pedro, himself, as a human being, but man, that Jerry Curl 'do is too beautiful. Its brining a tear to my eye!

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Juanita J. Sanchez said...

My God. I have no idea what you're talking about, but it's damn exciting nonetheless. Go Sox!


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