Every once in a while someone gets ahold of Pedro Martinez, talks to him about what he’s doing these days, and then gets around to asking the inevitable question: “Are you going to play again?”
Martinez has consistently said his return to baseball is unlikely, and that might still be true. But his tune is changing just a bit. Speaking to Joe Brescia of the New York Times, Martinez said he is not only interested in returning to MLB, but would prefer to finish up his career in Boston and officially retire as a member of the Red Sox.
I’d probably have to say the Red Sox. I would like to win a World Series in the National League, so the Phillies are in there, too. But for the time I’m going to be playing, I think Boston is more suitable so that I can retire with the Boston Red Sox and go to the Hall of Fame with the same hat.
Are you listening, Theo Epstein? After Clay Buchholz’s start today, you might want to consider it. Although, at the current pace, stocking up on arms for a pennant chase might be a pointless endeavor.
Martinez, 39, said he is in good shape right now and could be ready to take a mound within a month or so if need be. Over the course of his 18-year career, the certain Hall of Famer struck out 3,154 batters in 2,827.1 innings, going 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA. He last played in 2009 for the Phillies, when he was 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine games.
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.