Leave it to Pedro Martinez to come up with the best line of the weekend about radio lightning rod Colin Cowherd’s derogatory remarks concerning baseball players from the Dominican Republic.
Cowherd on his ESPN radio show had said that baseball can’t be “too complex” because it is played by so many Dominicans and Martinez, who is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, had the perfect platform for a mic-drop response in an interview with reporters Friday.
“I’m sorry. He needs to get to my level to answer him,” Pedro said. “I’m in the Hall of Fame.”
Other Dominican players were outraged, too, and although Cowherd tried to explain himself, ESPN chose to end his contract early. Last week, Cowherd announced that he was joining Fox as ESPN continues to purge itself of big-money talent.
Martinez elaborated Saturday, saying he doesn’t even know who Cowherd is. “Yes, we are a third-world country. Yes, we don’t have the resources to be more educated,” Martinez said. “But you know what? Every once in a while you’re going to get one like me, that’s not afraid to face you guys, to tell you how educated or uneducated or uneducated I am, how proud I am of becoming who I am. We’re not going to stop and go back to probably the third-world country that we were 30 years ago. We want to go forward. We’re looking forward.”
Juan Marichal, another Hall of Famer from the Dominican, added his voice to Martinez’s at Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I don’t know why people make those mistakes. People don’t believe how hard we worked to get to this country to become what we are. I don’t think you can do that without a brain.”
Cowherd’s remarks were condemned by Major League Baseball as well as active players like Jose Bautista. On Friday, Cowherd offered an explanation.
“I could’ve made the point without using one country, and there’s all sorts of smart people from the Dominican Republic,” Cowherd said Friday during The Herd. “I could’ve said a third of baseball’s talent is being furnished from countries with economic hardships, therefore educational hurdles. For the record, I used the Dominican Republic because they’ve furnished baseball with so many great players.”
He went on to mention reports about the country’s ranking in primary education and added:
“I understand that when you mention a specific country, they get offended,” Cowherd said. “I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me … where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels. … It wasn’t a shot at them. It was data. Five, seven years ago I talked about the same subject. Was I clunky? Perhaps. Did people not like my tone? I get it. Sometimes my tone stinks.
“I think when you host a radio show, just like Jon Stewart hosts a show, I think sometimes I bring up stuff … that makes people cringe. I’m not saying there’s not intelligent, educated people from the Dominican Republic. I cringe at the data too.”