I was fortunate to be able to witness the retirement of Pedro Martinez’s #45 last night at Fenway Park.
My Modus Operandi when photographing big events at Fenway is to try to get decent photos while living in the moment, breathing in the awesomeness that is the iconic ballpark, and (importantly) staying out of the way.
Special events at Fenway are no joke. It takes a massive team of headset wearing personnel to execute events such as ring ceremonies, Opening Days, and, yesterday, the retiring of a number. The staff operate like little parts of an incredibly well-oiled machine and getting in the way of a seamless execution is simply not an option. So, I hang back, I enjoy, I relish a bit, and then I hope that I was able to capture some of the magic.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…if those walls could talk. There is always a tangible history living and breathing inside that park. But, last night, you could almost see the green walls buckling as excellence blanketed the infield.
As if having Pedro back in the house and mere inches away from his mound wasn’t special enough, the list of legends that came to help him celebrate formed a little field of dreams.
Ben Cherington, Larry and Stacey Lucchino, John Henry and his wife Linda Pizzuti, and Tom Werner sat in attendance along with Pedro’s family. Joe Castiglione emceed the ceremony and the first to join Pedro on the field was Ralph Avila, the scout who first discovered him. Then came his manager from his time with the Expos, Felipe Alou and his brother, Jesus Alou, who runs the Red Sox Dominican Academy. Former teammates Jim Corsi and Lou Merloni delivered a blue grandstand seat, #45 of course, and Tim Wakefield delivered a check for, of course, $45,000 to be given to one of the charities that Pedro supports. Trot Nixon, Orlando Cabrera and Curt Schilling carried a large wrapped gift that contained a laptop fully loaded with video and highlights from Pedro’s time with the Sox. Red Sox Hall of Famers, Tommy Harper, Dwight Evans, and Luis Tiant gifted a tile from the Green Monster scoreboard, that’s right #45. They were followed by Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski who unveiled a gilded impression of Pedro’s “remarkable hands and unusually long fingers” bronzed and covered in gold. Nomar Garciaparra filmed a video message that was played during the ceremony. David Ortiz rightfully was a big part of the ceremony and then Jason Varitek, “The Captain”, made an albeit early, appearance to catch Pedro’s first pitch. When Pedro realized that he had invited Varitek onto the field too early he said, “Hey, this is Pedro. This is my parade.”
Last night will go down as one of “the nights” that I am glad I didn’t miss and certainly helped remind me just how much, and why, I love this team.
If you missed the ceremony,
You can see it in its entirety HERE
The Red Sox have a great video clip to view HERE