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For the first time since 2004, we saw Pedro Martinez in Red Sox garb yesterday down in Fort Myers...this time as a teacher.
Make no mistake about it: Having Martinez around also makes for a warm and fuzzy reminder of the good old days, and he brought smiles to the couple of thousand snowbirds who milled about the complex yesterday, watching the 2013 Red Sox prepare for the upcoming season.
But while baseball history is dotted with faded legends who were squeezed into uniforms for no other reason than to sell tickets — such as Babe Ruth coaching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 — that isn’t why Pedro Martinez is here.
He’s back because the Red Sox believe it would be a tragedy not to utilize Pedro Martinez as a teacher.
“I can’t handle the fact that I have all this knowledge inside me,” Martinez said during the half-hour he spent with the media. “I would love to give it away. I hope they use me as an example of hard work and dedication and will to do things.”
I know when Martinez was first hired as a special assistant to the GM, many wondered whethter this was yet another marketing ploy by the Luchhino and his minions. Usually, I'd be the first in line to complain about such a marketing-driven move. However, hiring Martinez was simply a smart baseball decision.
It goes without saying that Martinez is one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history. Why wouldn't you want a guy like that teaching a ballclub's youngsters?
Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, and Rubby De La Rosa already received some instruction from Martinez. It was reported that Doubront seemed to receive some extra attention, given his role in the rotation this year and the fact he showed up to camp out of shape. It must be pretty cool for these guys to say that the great Pedro Martinez taught me. That's something that will stick with them forever.
Unless we start seeing Martinez handing out 15% off coupons to the Souvenir Store on Yawkey Way with a big smile on his face, this is not a marketing move. This is a pure baseball move that can only benefit the future of the Red Sox.
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