Schilling denied saying in a radio interview earlier this week that Martinez was the recipient of “preferential treatment” by the Red Sox. Martinez, asked about Schilling’s alleged remarks in his press conference at Shea Stadium Thursday, reacted angrily and said that Schilling didn’t know what he was talking about.
Schilling did say, however, that Martinez operated on his own schedule as a member of the Red Sox.
“He came to the park when he wanted and did what we wanted,” Schilling said. “That was different to me. It took a lot of getting used to . . . I never said he got preferential treatment; I said Pedro was on his own program and did his own thing. That’s how (the Red Sox) handled him.
“We went on despite it. I had to be walked along to handle it. There were multiple times this season when I wondered where he was.”
Schilling recalled that in May, when he was told by other members of the Red Sox that Martinez would be taking his customary break in the Dominican Republic at the All-Star break, he thought the players were joking.
Though Schilling debated confronting Martinez about his individual ways, he decided against it.
“The fallout from trying to reverse it,” said Schilling, “would have affected the season . . . I got the impression that if someone had (confronted Martinez), he would have quit, gone home.”
Still, added Schilling, it was difficult to ignore Martinez’s absence in Yankee Stadium for Game 6 of the ALCS. Martinez stayed behind in Boston, ostensibly to work on his own in preparation for a possible appearance in Game 7.
“We were in the middle of the greatest eight-game run in the history of baseball and he wasn’t there,” Schilling said. “What does that tell your teammates? But that’s just the way it was.”
Schilling was also puzzled by Martinez’s remarks Thursday in which the three-time Cy Young Award winner repeatedly said it was essential that the Red Sox pay him more — on an average annual basis — than Schilling.
“That obviously bothered him,” he said. “I never approached (negotiations) in that manner, in that context. It’s not something I ever thought about. That’s something I can’t relate to. Obviously (salary relative to others) is a barometer for respect. He signed with the team that gave him the best deal. He earned that right; it is what it is.”
Taking issue with Martinez’s assertion that manager Terry Francona was merely a puppet for management, Schiling labeled the talk “unfortunate,” noting that Francona “fell on his (sword) for (Martinez) all season,” starting with Opening Day when Martinez left the ballpark before game was completed and Francona the next day covered for him.
“It’s a different style of managing (in Boston),” allowed Schilling. “The general manager is more involved. But it worked.”