Pedro unsure of Ortiz’s landing spot
BOSTON – David Ortiz’s prediction for Pedro Martinez’s free agency landing spot after the 2004 season was well off the mark: “He ain’t going to no Mets,” Ortiz said at the time.
Martinez, of course, signed with New York. Now, with Ortiz facing his own decision about his playing future, Martinez on Saturday didn’t offer a firm guess about where his former Red Sox teammate would end up.
“I have no idea, but baseball has a dark side, and that’s negotiations,” Martinez said Martinez at a HomeGoods store in Beford, Mass., where he was signing autographs to promote a holiday toy drive. “I think David is going to look for some good in his family, and I think the baseball people are going to try to look for what’s more convenient for the team and fill their pockets. And it’s sad to say it that way, but both of them have to look out for what David wants, what’s more convenient to them, and hopefully they will finish like I did, on good terms, and have a friendship relationship, and actually not to have any sour grapes after everything’s said and done.”
Martinez, 40, signed autographs for three and a half hours on Saturday, 90 minutes more than he signed up for. In exchange, fans donated two toys: one to support pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and another that went to underprivileged youth in the Dominican Republic through the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation. About 450 people came through in all.
Charity work has always been a hallmark of Martinez’s, and the decision to hold the drive was Martinez’s himself.
“Three weeks ago, he called me and said, ‘I’d really like to do a toy drive,'” said Scott Shuster, president of the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston. “It’s pretty remarkable just because he was that generous with his time.”
“I enjoyed it, because I enjoyed dealing with the people and the people here in New England, they love me and I love them,” Martinez said. “I figured Boston was a perfect place to come and do something like this and also help the kids, I love the kids.”
As respected a former player as there is, Martinez weighed on Boston’s hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager, saying he believes the new skipper will succeed.
“I think he’ll do OK,” Martinez said. “He’s experienced, he knows he has a lot of stars on that team and that he needs to keeps his composure. I think he’s going to be a role model as well, just like those players, and at the same time I think he’s going to be well respected by the players.”
Transparency and respect from his players, Martinez said, were the two things Valentine needs off the bat.
— Evan Drellich