Pedro Martinez returns to the mango tree

Pedro Martinez will officially announce his retirement soon. Perhaps in the form of a party, because Pedro Martinez is a celebration.

I could rattle on for hundreds of words about Pedro’s hilarious and sometimes divisive persona, or remember his mostly underwhelming tenure with the Mets, or defend him for defending himself from a hard-charging Don Zimmer. Or I could write about the first time I talked to Pedro after a ceremony in 2007 celebrating his 3,000th strikeout, and how he told me it was his first time his mother had been on a Major League field, and how speaking to him — one of my favorite players of all time — made me so giddy I called my own mother afterward.

But while all that ancillary stuff about Pedro is undoubtedly awesome, what’s most important to remember now is the ridiculous run of dominance that marked the middle of his Major League career. I’m almost hesitant to try to describe it, knowing I could never do it justice: A slight little man joyfully toying with so many juiced-up mashers, bedazzling and baffling with a blazing fastball and biting curve and a changeup that seemed to defy physics. It sometimes looked like Pedro was playing a video game, only he was on the Rookie setting and everyone else was on All-Star.

Watch this and this and this and this, knowing it’s entirely likely we’ll never see anything like it again. Time-capsule stuff.

What a stud.

If anyone needs Pedro Martinez, he’ll be under the mango tree, being awesome.

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