Pedro Martinez, Mayor Walsh Talk David Ortiz’s Retirement Announcement

They're sad to see Big Papi go.

From left: Pedro Martinez, The BASE founder Robert Lewis, Jr., and Mayor Marty Walsh Photo by Matt Juul

From left: Pedro Martinez, The BASE founder Robert Lewis, Jr., and Mayor Marty Walsh Photo by Matt Juul

Pedro Martinez and Mayor Marty Walsh commented on David Ortiz’s retirement announcement at an event in Boston on Wednesday night, and like the rest of the city, they’re sad to see Big Papi go.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher was in town to help celebrate the launch of a new girls baseball program by Roxbury-based nonprofit the BASE, and joined Walsh in saluting Ortiz during a chat with the media prior to the event.

While Martinez has mixed emotions about Big Papi’s upcoming departure at the end of next season (he wishes Ortiz would wait a year in order to cement a ticket to the Hall of Fame), he’s glad that his former teammate is going out on his own terms.

“I’m extremely proud and I feel even better about the fact that he’s the one choosing the time to go away, that I can see him and still see him healthy and good to go, with good energy to go home and spend time with his family,” Martinez said. “We’re all proud of him. We’re all happy. We’re going to be sad to see him go, but everyone has that time and baseball just keeps going.”

Walsh echoed some of Martinez’s sentiments and lauded the designated hitter for all of the work he’s done on and off the field, including his memorable speech in the wake of the Marathon bombings.

“He’s a real big part of the city and it’s sad, but I’m glad to see that he announced it so that we get a chance to say goodbye to him,” Walsh said. “We didn’t expect it when he came here from the Twins, and certainly he turned into one of the biggest sports figures in the history of Boston.”

Martinez, who helped lure Ortiz to the Red Sox, admits that he wasn’t that surprised by the announcement.

As a close friend of Big Papi, Martinez recalls giving him some advice for how he should exit the game when the time came. The former Red Sox great wanted to make sure that Ortiz didn’t leave baseball without saying a proper goodbye to all of the people who supported him.

“I said, ‘David, the day you go away from the game, don’t do it like I did,'” Martinez said. “I never had the chance to tell the fans, tell everybody, tell baseball how much I love them and how much I appreciate them. So I learned from my mistake and I was sure to tell David to make sure he announce it and that he has at least a year to say goodbye to everybody and say goodbye to the memories and to say goodbye to baseball.”

Martinez added that he’s a “proud papa” and hopes that his friend will continue to be a role model when he finally hangs up his bat and glove.

“Just go out there like you were from the first day to the last,” Martinez said. “Max effort professionally, max effort as a role model in baseball, as a human being, and also as role model to society away from baseball. I think that will be the most important thing for David to actually leave behind when his legacy starts to blossom.”