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Wednesday, September 13
Pedro says he heard racial slurs, death threat

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- As if there wasn't enough bad blood between Pedro Martinez and the Cleveland Indians, now this.

Pedro Martinez

Martinez revealed Wednesday that as he got ready to pitch in relief for the Boston Red Sox during Game 5 of the AL Division Series at Jacobs Field last October, he was showered with racial slurs by some fans and received one death threat.

"I remember being told when I was warming up, 'You're going to be shot,' " Martinez told Boston reporters. "They were calling me 'beaner' and saying, 'Go back to your country -- you don't belong in this country.' That came from fans who probably just wanted me to get out of there.

"They said so (much) discriminating stuff to me, it would sound unreal. It was the first time I ever heard such things and I heard them here in Cleveland."

It's the second time in three years that a pitcher has accused fans sitting in the right-field corner in Cleveland of verbally taunting them during the postseason.

Toronto's David Wells, then with the New York Yankees, said Indians fans sitting near the visitors' bullpen made vulgar remarks to him before Game 5 of the ALCS in 1998.

Martinez managed to block out the crowd and pitched six no-hit innings last October as the Red Sox completed their improbable comeback from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Indians and advance.

Martinez dismissed the taunts as fans caught up in the excitement of rooting for the Indians.

"It's normal in sports to have your fans in your hometown get on the visiting players. That's how I take it. They just said some things because they knew I could probably beat up on the Cleveland Indians," Martinez said.

"I don't pay attention. I would just say those were the crazy fans with a lot to drink and who knows what else," he said.

Martinez has owned the Indians throughout his career, going 8-0 with a 1.47 ERA, including two wins in last year's playoffs.

Martinez never mentioned the taunting last October or in April when he pitched at Jacobs Field earlier this year.

On Thursday night, he'll make his first start at Cleveland since April 30, when he was ejected for hitting Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Martinez was suspended for five games for hitting Alomar in the backside after he was warned by umpires not to retaliate after Cleveland's Charles Nagy hit Boston's Jose Offerman.

Nagy hit Offerman after Martinez twice buzzed the head of Indians catcher Einar Diaz, who hit two doubles off last year's AL Cy Young winner.

With so much riding on these games, Martinez isn't anticipating any more trouble between the teams.

"I don't think I did anything for them to react at that time," he said. "They chose to take some measures in the game and we just responded."

Martinez said he spoke with Alomar at the All-Star Game in Atlanta.

"(Alomar) said it was the right thing to do when I did it and I did it right," Martinez said. "He came over to the weight room (Monday) and he was like always. We hugged each other, we talked, just like always. He understands.

"The Indians don't have anything against us. We just did what we had to do, both teams. It's over with. Those games are over with. It's a new game tomorrow. Nothing will happen, hopefully."

Martinez said he's not worried any hostility from the fans, either, as the Red Sox chase the Indians for the wild-card spot.

"The only thing the crowd can do is go crazy out there," he said. "They can never jump into the field. I don't care what the crowd does -- not there, not at Yankee Stadium or at Fenway. Nowhere. Fans are out there to have fun and watch.

"I'm inside the field to do my thing. I don't care what they do or how they feel. I just care about my game and give them what they deserve and what they pay to see -- a good game of baseball."

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