In his upcoming book Pedro, Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez writes that he believes the media's coverage of Sammy Sosa after his corked-bat incident was racist.
On June 3, 2003, the Cubs outfielder had a broken-bat RBI groundout against the then-Devil Rays. After shattering his bat, umpires looked at the shards and saw that there was cork in his bat. Sosa was suspended eight games for the incident. (His suspension was later reduced to seven games after an appeal.)
Martinez was most upset by how the media portrayed Sosa during the situation. Despite not being that close to the Sosa, Martinez defended the Cubs outfielder, who is also from the Dominican Republic.
"A good portion of the media ran Sammy’s comments in his poor English, so that he sounded illiterate," Martinez wrote. "Then there was the ferocity of the media’s attacks on Sammy. They made him sound like a criminal. This sent me over the top. I knew racism when I saw it."
Martinez had a colorful way of showing his feelings for the media's coverage. From the book excerpt:
"I got on a chair in the middle of the clubhouse in Pittsburgh and got pretty graphic, bending over, letting the national media know that they were going to have to bend over and take it from us Dominicans, because we were going to continue to grow and dominate baseball."
Martinez acknowledged that he appears to be wrong about Sosa not being a cheater, considering the constant allegations of steroid use, but says he was more bothered by the "Spanish-English" translation issue.
A longer excerpt from Pedro appears in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, and a version will be available on SI.com on Thursday.
- Erick Fernandez