Paulie and I were at a Badger football game that same year, 2003, shortly after the Red Sox blew it in a tremendous series with the Yankees, which included a personal favorite Pedro Martínez tossing 72-year-old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer aside when Zimmer tried to charge him.
“Omg, that was awesome.”
“Yeah, I fucking love Pedro.”
Unfortunately, we were sitting in front of a girl who we soon found out, very loudly and very often, grew up in Brooklyn.
“That was not ‘awesome,’” she screamed at us. “That guy is a maniac. What if he had become serious injured or concussed or fucking died, huh?”
“Uh, Zimmer charged him — he could’ve done a lot more than just politely tossing him aside.”
“I don’t care! He’s a 72-year-old man! You don’t just throw a 72-year-old man to the ground, no matter what!”
“You do if he’s charging you, and you do if you’re Pedro Martínez!”
You know I loves me some Dominicans. Sure, now he’s old and playing for the Mets, but I still think Pedro is so fucking awesome. I’ll never forget what he said during that series:
“I don’t believe in damn curses. Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I’ll drill him in the ass, pardon me the word.”
Then he said something nearly as cool earlier this year when reporters asked him about the 1990s era of steroids in baseball. All of a sudden he was freaking Hemingway, talking like Santiago coming back after battling the great marlin:
“I dominated that era and I did it clean. I can stand by my numbers and I can be proud of them,” he said. “I have a small frame and when I hurt all I could do was take a couple of Aleve or Advil, a cup of coffee and a little mango and an egg — and let it go!”
But sadly, Pedro never got to face the Marlins in the World Series that year, because of Aaron Boone. Here’s a little about him.
During that summer, I was hooking up with a girl who played D3 college softball and who loved baseball, and Sex and the City. She was over one night, and we were watching Conan with Paulie. Afterward, the Carson Daly show came on with guests Kim Cattrall (Samantha, the slutty one, from SATC) and Aaron Boone, the third baseman who had just been traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Yankees (one of the best SATC episodes is the one where Carrie dates “the new Yankee”).
So there’s Aaron Boone, the new Yankee, and Carson Daly is asking him all these dumbshit questions, in typical Carson Daly fashion (those of you who are down on Jimmy Fallon as Conan’s replacement, consider where they could’ve gone with that one). It went a little like this:
Carson Daly: So you’re the new Yankee. Are you like best pals with Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi now? Are you going out, hitting all the clubs?
Aaron Boone: Uh, well, they’ve been really nice to me, but I played in Cincinnati for like five years, and it’s hard to leave those guys. They were like my brothers.
Carson Daly: Fuck those guys, you’re the new Yankee.
So then Daly talked with Cattrall, and it was instantly clear she found his dumbshit line of questioning about her sexually liberated character and the sex book she wrote with her husband was disgusting. What a fucking loser. But I was totally enamored with Boone’s situation, and kept spinning it around in my head.
“Imagine what that must be like,” I told the SATC-loving softball player. “All of a sudden, he’s out on West Coast road trip and calls his wife, like, pack your bags, honey, I just got traded to the Yankees. The fucking Yankees! So you know, we’ll be moving from Cincinnati to Manhattan!”
Then during the playoffs, fter the second face-off between our boy Pedro Martínez and the now-revealed-to-be ’roided-up Roger Clemens, after the fights and the films, in the bottom of the 11th, Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run, FTW, to send the Yankees to the World Series instead of the Red Sox. He was no longer the new Yankee; he was a fucking hero.
During the offseason that year, he hurt himself playing a pick-up basketball game, of violation of his contract with the Yankees, who dumped him in favor of giving the then-biggest contract in the history of sports to Alex Rodriguez.
From Middle-America hack to New York City’s hero and back again in six short months — that’s a real reason to envy these guys. Forget the money; I want to ride that rollercoaster.