Pedro under spotlight in MLB Network special
Tonight's 'Hall of Fame Pitchers' show focuses on Martinez, Smoltz
To get an inside look at what Pedro Martinez was seeing and feeling as he returned to the Dominican Republic for the first time as a Hall of Famer, it is all there in a special tonight on MLB Network. The fourth installment of "MLB Network Presents" is titled "Hall of Fame Pitchers: Smoltz & Pedro," and it airs at 9 p.m. ET.
Martinez followers will be enthralled at the sight of the ace parading through the streets of the Dominican Republic as his adoring fans chase him and celebrate him on foot, the smiling Martinez waving two Dominican flags throughout the momentous event.
Shouts of "Pedro, Pedro, Pedro" can be heard as Martinez is escorted through the route.
"I have never seen that in any circumstances in the Dominican," Martinez said during the program. "To see both sides of Las Americas Highway where people were just running down the street and blocking Las Americas just to see their hero. It took two and a half hours to take a 25-minute drive."
Martinez wasn't complaining about the slow ride. He was reveling in it.
"It wasn't really the money I had, it wasn't the career I had, it wasn't making it to the Hall of Fame," Martinez said. "It was seeing the whole country [celebrate] at once."
Viewers will see exclusive footage of the parade thrown in Martinez's honor, and the party in his hometown of Manoguayabo with countrymen such as David Ortiz and Robinson Cano.
Martinez's wife, Carolina, is also interviewed during the program, and she recounts her husband's joy at being the second player from the Dominican Republic, along with Juan Marichal, to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
"He used to always say when he pitched, he wanted to see people [in the Dominican] celebrate his games, but he didn't have the chance to do it because he was working," said Carolina Cruz Martinez. "So I think the Dominican people wanted him to feel how much they love him."
The program, which is hosted by Bob Costas, begins with a behind-the-scenes look at when Martinez was first informed he was elected to the Hall of Fame. But the most poignant joy occurred once Martinez got off the plane in the Dominican.
"After I hugged my mom and my brother and I told them, 'Mission accomplished,' it was like, 'This is a party now.'" said Pedro Martinez.