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Pedro paternity test: Who's daddy?10/14/2004 2:45 AM ET
By Doug Miller
NEW YORK -- It's the question sweeping through Yankees and Red Sox Nation, the inquiry that launched a thousand T-shirts.
"Pedro, who's your daddy?"
Here's the background, in case you've been on an Aleutian Islands cruise or locked in your garage TiVo-ing the "Desperate Housewives" pilot:
After a tough loss to the Yanks in late September, Red Sox ace and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, 9-10 lifetime against New York, said to the press, "I can't find a way to beat them at this point. ... What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."
Bad move, Pete.
Two weeks later, the Yankees and all their fans have ridden that line as far as it can take them, and so far that's a nice 2-0 cushion in the American League Championship Series heading to Fenway Park.
The chanting of "Who's your daddy" has supplanted "Let's go, Yankees" as the chic four-syllable Bronx cheer.
Creative and clever signs adorn the facade: Wednesday night brought out Darth Vader saying, "Pedro, I am your father," and a Dominican-tinged "Pedro, que esta sus padre?"
Pedro said he liked it and got pretty emotional about it, too.
"I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people ... plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus," Martinez said. "And today, I was the center of attention of the whole city of New York."
And he pitched gallantly, giving up three runs on four hits in six innings and striking out seven.
But the script had the same climax and denouement as many other episodes. The Yankees still beat him, 3-1, and, for now, still own him.
So the question remains. Who really is Pedro's daddy?
With apologies to Paulino Martinez, Pedro's actual father, MLB.com has conducted an unofficial paternity test, and here are six possible candidates:
Father Time: Pedro turns 33 in two weeks, and his age has been showing. His fastball, which used to routinely hit 97 mph, is more like 92 or 93 these days. He only threw one complete game all year and put up the highest ERA -- 3.90 -- of his career. In his last three starts of the regular season, he gave up 18 runs in 17 1/3 innings.
Martinez can still turn on the juice when he wants. He blew away Gary Sheffield with a 95 mph fastball in the fifth inning Wednesday night and hit 97 a few times. But the air of invincibility is gone, and if Pedro has to step in for cranky-ankled Curt Schilling in Game 5 on three days' rest, it would be a very tough assignment.
John Olerud: Orphaned by the Seattle Mariners in July, the former batting champ caught on with the Yankees and has ably filled the first-base chasm left by the ailing Jason Giambi. On Wednesday, Olerud's two-run home run off Martinez won the ballgame.
After the game, Olerud told the press that if he weren't playing for the Yanks, he'd be "taking care of the kids, getting ready to have another baby." Paternal experience has got to count for something.
The San Diego Padres: In Pedro's native tongue, they're "The Fathers," but as far as performance on the field against Martinez, they're more like his orange-haired, freckled stepson.
Martinez is 8-2 with a 2.87 ERA lifetime against the Padres and shut them out for eight innings with eight strikeouts this year in one of his best outings of 2004.
Father Dowling: The cuddly, bulbous main character of the forgotten-by-many Tom Bosley TV vehicle probably couldn't register more than 40 on the radar gun and most likely couldn't pitch anything except funding for an auxiliary bake sale, but the man could solve mysteries.
Maybe he'd be the one to unlock Pedro's suddenly baffling inability to beat the Yankees.
Babe Ruth: We're going way back with this one, but if the Curse really exists, isn't the old Bambino the guy who's ultimately responsible for this? If so, maybe the only way to reverse the Curse is for Pedro to become a free agent at the end of the year and sign with the Yanks.
Oh, wait. Then the Red Sox would probably lose again.
Don Zimmer: Zimmer, now on the Devil Rays' payroll, is old enough to be Pedro's granddaddy. But after their Fenway fracas in Game 3 of last year's ALCS, where Pedro was forced to defend getting physical with a 72-year-old man with a metal plate in his head, it's possible that Old Man Zim got into Pedro's head the way your dad does when you borrow his Buick and it ends up in the next-door neighbor's living room.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.