Did you read what Philadelphia Phillies Veteran Pitcher Pedro Martinez said to reporters the night before he was to pitch against the New York Yankees in game two of the World Series?

This is what he said about how the New York media has treated him over the years:

“You guys have used me and abused me,” he said. “I remember quotes in the paper, ‘Here comes the man that New York loves to hate.’ Man? None of you have probably ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what the man is about. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things, have written so many things.

“There was one time I remember when I was a free agent, there was talk that I might meet with Steinbrenner. One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That’s a sign of the devil. I’m a Christian man. I don’t like those things. I take those things very serious. Those are the kind of things that the fans actually get used to seeing, and actually sometimes influence those people to believe that you are a bad person, that you are like an ogre.”

As a long time Phillies fan, I was not sure that I wanted our pitcher going all “vulnerable” before a game.

Others will say Pedro was just playing head games with the Yankees.

But what if there is something bigger than baseball involved in that quote?

Pedro’s words should remind all of us of the damage that we cause when we demonize people with our rhetoric. We must find ways to disagree, even compete, without losing the humanity of the other person or calling them the devil.

May we be people who respect the humanity of the other team, whether that is in politics, religion, or even baseball.

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