I mentioned it earlier, at the bottom of the Integrity! thread, but it’s worth expanding on. Last night Pedro Martinez, not my favorite baseball player for several reasons, most fundamentally because I am a Yankees fan, pitched very well until he allowed a two-run homer to John Olerud. He heard the fans chanting, endlessly, “Who’s your daddy?”, a reference to Martinez’s remark last month, after a crushing defeat to to the bombers, “What can I say, the Yankees are my daddies, now.”
I have to confess to have found that remark rather endearing a month ago. And I will confess that I was doing a few “Who’s your daddy” chants last night. But after the game, Pedro took the inevitable question about it and here is what he said:
“You know what, it actually made me feel really, really good,” he said. “I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus you guys, plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus. And today, I was the center of attention of the whole City of New York. I thank God for that, and you know what? I don’t regret one bit what they do out there.” He also acknowledged God as his “BIG and first Daddy.”
What a wonderful, thoughtful answer. And if you’d seen him, you’d have noted that he was luminous when he gave it. It was, in a way, a testament to grace, to see this man discuss his epiphany. In a few sentences Pedro Martinez became human and likable to me – and to many other Yankee fans I’ve spoken to today. He was classy. He said the classy thing. New Yorkers will respect him for it, as they have never respected him before. They’ll very likely still ask him about his daddy…but I expect Pedro will find that Yankee fans will also offer him some smiling applause because he showed his heart. And baseball is all about heart.
And too…his words spoke about America as land of opportunity – as a place where anyone can rise to their potential – and he spoke it more eloquently than any of our oh-so-educated pundits or refined politicians.
Well done, Pedro.