Reggie came to New York to play for the Yankees in 1977, and proceeded to take the town by storm. He craved, and performed at his best under the intense pressure that New York City abounds in. His biggest feat is the 3 consecutive home runs in 3 consecutive swings that he hit in the sixth game of the 1977 World Series to help the Yankees beat the Dodgers and win the Series. He told everybody that they would name a candy bar after him, . . . and indeed they did, the Reggie Bar. He feuded with everyone, from manager Billy Martin to George Steinbrenner, the controversial principal owner of the Yankees . But in the clutch, "Mr. October", as Reggie was nicknamed because of his outstanding performance in five World Series, was the man to go to.
Reggie was not re-signed by Steinbrenner after the Yankees lost the 1981 World Series to the Dodgers. This really angered the gods, who proceeded to punish the Yankees and Steinbrenner by giving them 14 consecutive years of fairly bad teams. I was heartbroken, and stopped following the Yankees altogether until the late '90s, when the very good and very professional teams of the Joe Torre era made the Yankees very appealing again.
Pedro has the same kind of "chutzpah" that Reggie had. He is not just a natural leader, but like Reggie, one that does his best under the intense pressure that most mortals just cannot handle. The New York Mets the team I started to follow around the mid '80s after my broken heart healed, signed Pedro Martinez this season with huge fanfare and even bigger expectations, and Pedro has so far been nothing short of great.
Yesterday Pedro pitched the first game of the Mets - Yankees series taking place this weekend in Yankee stadium. He won the game, allowing only 2 runs and 6 hits in 8 innings. As it so happens, I missed most of the game because this was the first time my wife and I were able to go watch the new Star Wars movie, which I have been very eager to see. The movie is quite good, but frankly, I have to go see it again because while these incredible battles were going on between the Jedi Knights and the various manifestations of the Dark Side in screen 4 of the Crown Royale, my mind kept wandering to the arguably bigger battles taking place in Yankee stadium, not just between the Mets and Yankees in the field, but also between Pedro and the Yankee fans taunting him by chanting "Who's Your Daddy?".
Pedro, May the Force be with You through the whole season. I have tickets to the Mets - Phillies game this coming Thursday in Shea stadium, and if the Force is with me, I'll get to see Pedro pitch that game.