Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was a huge baseball fan. My dad’s business had season tickets for the Pirates, but he usually used them for us, his family, rather than his customers. I can still name most of the players on the Pirates’ roster in the 50’s.
But Bostonians are huge Red Sox fans and after a few years here, I became one too. Through good years and bad, we watched the Sox with the kids. Even though they live elsewhere now, their true allegiance is still to the Sox.
Which is why Peter and I jumped at the chance to spend two hours with Pedro Martinez, the Hall of Fame pitcher who spent his best baseball years with Boston.
There were about one hundred and fifty people in the small auditorium with Pedro and his Harvard-professor interviewer. The first thing I did was text a photo of him to the kids. Then I listened with a big grin on my face as Pedro recounted his life in a small baseball-loving town in the Dominican Republic, using everything from mangoes to his sister’s dolls’ heads as baseballs. Making it to play baseball in the U.S. was the goal, and making it to the major leagues was very tough.
Though poorly educated, Pedro is a born philosopher. He urged a rapt audience never to “cry”. “When you did the best you could, don’t feel like you failed. There is no failure.”
He explained how channeling his anger helped him win, how his spirituality guides him and how much he owes his family, especially his mother.
He got a standing “O”. The audience, mostly Harvard students, loved him. So did I.