Welcome to the refreshed Over the Monster! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card (contest rules). We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
My first memories of watching baseball are in 1998, with the home run record chase and then the World Series. I don't remember anything about the buildup to that Yankees-Padres matchup, nor do I remember any specifics from the actual championship round. The only thing I remember is begging my mother to let me stay up to watch one more inning. The answer was no, but I wasn't deterred. The next year, I started watching a fair amount of Red Sox games. Again, I don't remember many of the specifics from that season -- I was only eight, after all -- but the one thing I do remember is watching Pedro.
Even though I didn't know nearly enough about baseball to truly appreciate how amazing Martinez was in that season -- arguably the greatest season by any pitcher in baseball history -- it didn't matter. Sure, you could have told me the numbers and I would have feigned interest and pretended to have some idea what you were talking about. The truth is, though, regardless of how incredible Pedro's stats were from that era (and they were incredible), all you had to do was watch. I was never fortunate enough to see one of his starts live, but you could feel the atmosphere through the TV. His starts were an event, and they hooked me like no other athlete in my lifetime has or ever could.
The specific memories I do have from that season both involve Pedro, of course. The first was the All-Star Game, which just so happened to take place at Fenway. I certainly remember Ted Williams coming onto the field before that game and being swarmed by the active players, but that didn't mean much to me. I knew something special was happening, but I barely knew who Williams was. Pedro's performance, though...well, that was something I understood. He struck out the first four NL All Stars he faced and five of the six he went up against in his two innings of work. Then, a few months later, he put together one of the greatest playoff performances ever. The Red Sox and Indians were tied at eight heading into the bottom of the fourth and Martinez came out of the bullpen to throw six no-hit innings with eight strikeouts. It was remarkable, even to a nine-year-old who was still extremely new to this game.
The short version of my fandom is simple and the same as most Red Sox fans. I was in a Red Sox family, and I was always going to be a Red Sox fan. However, I was fortunate to start watching at the same time that Pedro Martinez turned into the greatest pitcher of all time. This took my fandom to the next level, and it's something I'll forever be grateful for. I know I'm certainly not the only person who can say this, but Pedro may be the most influential person in my life whom I've never met.