Winning 101 with Professor Pedro

In the afterglow of his dominant, six-hit shutout performance over the Atlanta Braves Friday, Pedro Martinez's thoughts roamed to… toilets.

In a microcosm, this is why the Mets shelled out $53 million to bring in the future Hall of Famer – to pitch like a postseason hero against teams like the Braves, then brighten up the room by bringing his irreverent take on things into the atmosphere.

If only the Mets hadn't collapsed out of playoff contention this month, games like Friday's surprisingly brisk 2 hour, 4 minute affair might have been the stuff of Mets lore.

But as Martinez remarked, making the 4-0 victory today's newsprint – tomorrow's fish-wrap, as the old saying goes – would be good enough for the 30-something guys wearing Mets uniforms on Sept. 17.

"There's enough stuff for you guys to write and make it a lot more fun in the clubhouse," Martinez said. "A lot of positive things to write about than negative.

"I'm expecting some nice things. I want to see guys having fun in the toilets reading the papers."

The Mets still have the tabloids delivered to the clubhouse, win or lose – no restrictions on incoming media, like in the Bobby Valentine and Art Howe eras, when the team was limited to the vanilla and largely ignored copies of USA Today.

And yes, it seems that quite a few copies of the Post and Daily News somehow are making their way to the latrines. Probably more on Saturday than Friday.

"I guess people love to read when they're… busy," Martinez laughed.

Alas, the cold reality is that Martinez's masterpiece will only live on as a brief shining moment in what promises to be a dark September. Instead of helping New York close ground on the Astros, Phillies and Marlins, Friday's victory is just one point on the road back to .500.

But Martinez gives reason to watch, inspiration to pay attention to his perspiration. He's not only a pitcher at this point; he's also a teacher in the class of Winning 101 – Mike Jacobs, who hit a two-run homer off John Smoltz to give Martinez a lead in the second inning, gleefully hugged Pedro after the win and expressed gratitude.

"That was awesome," Jacobs told Martinez. "I've never been part of anything that exciting before."

"That's got to be one of the highlights, and probably the biggest highlight, of his early career," Martinez said. "To hit it off Smoltz, you give the kid credit not to rush out and call home: "Mommy, I just took Smoltz out."

And was it a highlight for Pedro? Nope. When you're the professor of winning, it's just one more day at the office.

"It was no rush," Martinez said. "That's my way of doing things.

"I am a professional."


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