After the Cleveland Indians eliminated Pedro Martinez's former team, the Boston Red Sox, from the MLB playoffs in a three-game sweep on Monday, the Hall of Fame pitcher "honored" the American League Central Division champs in an insensitive and politically incorrect way.
The former ace, who won two Cy Young Awards and one World Series in seven seasons with Boston, is now a commentator for TBS. On the postgame show, he said he wanted to pay tribute to the Indians for their performance, and then he tapped his hand against his mouth and gesturing in a stereotype of a Native American war cry.
Adding to the insult, the segment aired on Columbus Day – a holiday venerated by Italian-Americans but considered insulting by many Native Americans.
While Martinez's on-air co-hosts didn’t seem to mind the stereotype, Martinez took some hits on social media for the gesture, and, two hours afterward, Martinez went on Twitter to apologize for his on-camera antics.
“I send my apologies if I was misunderstood when I was trying to pay tribute to the Cleveland Indians on the TBS [postgame] show,” he wrote. “I was referring to my pitching years facing Cleveland. Nothing else. Again, my apologies.”
Monday night’s match-up between the Indians and the Red Sox also marked the end of the storied 20-year career of Martinez's friend, David Ortiz.
“Well done compadre, well done,” Martinez tweeted about Ortiz.
The Indians now face the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series starting on Friday in Cleveland.