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Pedro Martinez Reflects On His Sox Days, Says Chris Sale Has 'Richer' Abilities05:57Download

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Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez autographs a ball for a young fan at Fenway Park. (Lynn Jolicoeur/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez autographs a ball for a young fan at Fenway Park. (Lynn Jolicoeur/WBUR)

Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez is back at Fenway Park for this weekend's series between the Red Sox and Yankees.

He also pitched in a charity baseball game on Thursday night.

Martinez is busy in retirement, but not too busy to reminisce about his days in a Sox uniform.

"... The atmosphere, the people, the way they felt on days I was pitching, when I would leave the dugout and just hear the people just go crazy about me and stepping out on the grass," Martinez recalls. "It's refreshing. It's really nice to actually go back in time and remember those times."

"This is where I felt the most comfortable ever. This is our comfort zone — being in the field, seeing the dirt, smelling the dirt, the grass... It's like getting right into your bedroom and knowing that you're sleeping in your bed. That's how comfortable we feel around the field."

Asked for his reaction to Red Sox principal owner John Henry's push to rename Yawkey Way because it pays tribute to Tom Yawkey, who was known for racist sentiments and was the last major league owner to integrate a franchise, Martinez has mixed feelings. He says it would be a "great honor" to see the street named for his friend, recently retired Sox designated hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz.

"But at the same time, Fenway's so traditional, sometimes I feel kind of concerned if they, you know, tamper too much with Fenway," Martinez added. "I would like to see the tradition continue... I'm so used to seeing Fenway the way it is, I don't want to see Fenway change all that much more than it has so far."

Martinez says the Sox are a "complete package" this season, and he had glowing things to say about ace pitcher Chris Sale.

WBUR's Sports and Society reporter Shira Springer spoke with Martinez a few hours before Friday's Sox game. Hear the conversation above.

This segment aired on August 18, 2017.

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