Aug 6, 2010, 12:54 PM EDT
That was the first thing Pedro Martinez said to me with a big smile on his face as he shook my hand before I even had a chance to introduce myself. The Big Sexy, of course, is Pedro’s nickname for Ryan Howard. I tried arguing that fans like to call him the Big Piece or Big Brown, but Pedro was having none of that, “I miss the Big Sexy.”
That was the general tone of Pedro’s thoughts on the Phillies organization, the players, and the fans. He misses being in the game, but at the same time, he’s an awfully happy guy out of it. He repeatedly mentioned a promise made to his kids and that he’s enjoying spending time with them.
As we walked through the Times Square Planet Hollywood, Pedro danced and did a little air guitar after seeing all of the music memorabilia hanging on the wall. Based on his downright happy attitude, you wouldn’t have guessed he was on a media tour. ESPN, the Associated Press, the New York Times, The700Level.com, all the big hitters.
Martinez was in New York to help promote the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Ultimate Summer Job program. I forgot to ask him if Gillette makes any hair products similar to Soul Glo.
“I got one of those,” Pedro said as I pulled out my flip camera to record our conversation. He said it just like a kid who was proud of a new toy he got on Christmas. So what would Pedro Martinez need a flip camera for? “Fishing, my kids, I like fishing a lot. A LOT. I have a couple boats,” he said.
So instead of throwing from the mound, he’s been throwing lines in the water.
As far as pitching again, Pedro said he hasn’t thrown in about a month but says the itch is always there. “Once you play baseball, you always have the itch. You always want to go and play. Right now, there are things that are really important to me. After I made the promise to the kids, I don’t want to let them down. I’ll have to see how I feel after they go back to school,” he said.
Later in the conversation, however, when I brought up the “year of the pitcher,” Pedro said matter of factly, ” I could pitch. I could pitch right now if I wanted to. I’d just have to say yes to a team.”
Pedro’s career as one of the most dominant players in the game may be over, but he’s never going to lose that swagger.
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