Pedro Martinez has got a wee bit of explaining to do.
A big snub by the Mets’ new ace toward his little sidekick has left 28-inch-tall Nelson de la Rosa steaming-mad – and vowing to stick with the Boston Red Sox rather than turn into a Mini-Met.
“He broke my heart,” de la Rosa told the Daily News yesterday. “That’s not right what he said about me.”
At his introductory press conference last week, Martinez laughed off the Dominican dwarf’s role as a good-luck charm during Boston’s curse-breaking World Series run, saying, “That was just a trick.”
Then he really set off his little buddy by scooping up a midget who showed up to blast de la Rosa as a “palm-sized pipsqueak.”
“That little guy just wants to be famous,” said de la Rosa, 37, who once starred in a movie alongside Hollywood heavyweight Marlon Brando. “Well, I’m already famous.”
Martinez and de la Rosa have not spoken since they rode on a float together during the Red Sox victory parade.
While de la Rosa keeps snapshots of him with his much larger amigo during happier times, he angrily huffs and waves his infant-sized hands at the mere mention of the hurler’s name. “I wanted him to stay with Boston, but that’s his decision,” he said.
The unlikely pair met through a mutual friend at a Rhode Island restaurant, and de la Rosa became an instant hit in the rowdy Red Sox clubhouse. He went on the road for several games, including the Red Sox’s American League Championship Series finale against the Yankees.
After games, de la Rosa, clad in a child’s Red Sox getup, often appeared alongside Martinez, who would lift the dwarf over his head.
De la Rosa still wears his Red Sox turtleneck and a shiny silver chain inscribed “El Chiquito” (the Little One).
But while he has soured on Martinez, he suggested that, like the pitcher, he might test the free-agent market. “I’m not going to the Mets unless some other Dominican ballplayer makes me an offer,” he said. “And if the Yankees call me, I’ll go with them.”
While Martinez is now vilified in Red Sox Nation, the mini-mascot remains an idol among Boston fans.
“I’m the one and only,” de la Rosa said. “I’m still Nelson, and that’s from the heart.”