Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Today's Top Story: Victor Martinez Says "Hi" To People
Jeff Seidel’s latest column at the Freep is going to show you how to take that simple sentence and stretch it into an 800+ word column. Sure, it’s Spring Training and there’s not much to write about…I should probably give him a pass. Everyone's doing puff pieces right now in the "real sportswriter" world. But I’ve been gone for a while and I feel I owe my loyal readers some prickish material. And I need to get into mid-season form ASAP before the Simonsons and Sharps of the world start their nonsense up again.
So enjoy this uplifting and encouraging story of the return of Tiger favorite Victor Martinez from his knee injury. With jokes.
Early this morning, Victor Martinez strapped a knee brace on his left leg and put on his Tigers uniform for the first time in more than a year.
“I almost forgot a little bit how to get dressed,” Martinez said after he missed the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL. “How to put on my socks.”
Welcome to every day in the life of Jeremy Bonderman.
Martinez took batting practice two times today, and he looked strong, healthy and ready to resume his role as the Tigers’ designated hitter in 2013.
Early in the day, Martinez hit inside Joker Marchant Stadium. The place was almost empty, except for three city workers who were painting the top of the dugout.
It takes three city employees to paint one dugout? How much do they get paid? What kind of benefits do they have? Do they have to do the other dugout, too? Why did they wait until now to do it? What do they do when not painting dugouts? Are they illegals? How did they get in the park if the rest of the place is empty? Where was Little Victor? Did someone kidnap Little Victor?????
Be a real reporter, Jeff! I need to know these things!
I may be reading this article wrong. This is one of the reasons I don’t have any friends.
Martinez hit from both sides of the plate, twisting on his bad knee, pulling the ball with power, firing shots all over the field and knocking a couple of balls over the left-field fence.
“Hitting ropes!” Alex Avila said.
“Will suck at baseball for food!” Johnny Damon said.
This is why Tigers manager Jim Leyland loves Martinez:
Because he hits well in an empty ballpark in Spring Training?
Because he produces. Martinez produces runs and hits in the clutch.
Oh. That’s why. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. But that’s not what he was…never mind.
"His presence at the plate has been the most impressive thing for me,” Leyland said. “Forget he’s a great guy, he’s a great teammate.
Funny. That’s what I always tell people to do about Don Kelly. And everyone calls me an asshole.
I can go through all those adjectives. But what I like about Victor the most are those 112 RBIs and hitting .300 and getting big hit after big hit. I’m not gonna be phony about it. That’s why I love Victor.”
You are loving him for false reasons, Jim. Only once in his career has V-Mart hit 112 RBI or more. That was 2007 in Cleveland. You are being phony about it. The web of lies begins already in 2013. FIRE LEEEELAND!
Everybody, it seems, loves Victor Martinez for different reasons.
True. I love him because he’s not Delmon Young.
On one of the back fields, Martinez stood along the right-field line, doing long-toss with Don Kelly.
Martinez turned to his right. “Quintin Berry,” Marintez said. “Talk to me.”
This is why his teammates love him. Martinez is fun and cordial, a superstar with an infectious personality.
Teammates love him because he acknowledged Quintin Berry’s presence. Slow…news…day.
He’s like air in a balloon. Everything kind of deflates when he’s not there.
Rick Porcello is like a fine seafood restaurant waiter. Ask him nicely and he’ll give you gigantic crabs.
Don Kelly is like smoke in Jim Leyland’s lungs. Feels relaxing to have him around, but will kill him in the long run.
Insert your own. I’m bad at these.
Kelly had a bad throw
– it was low – and the ball scooted past Martinez and rolled to the fence. Martinez took the blame, even thought it was Kelly’s fault.
Great. Another enabler in Detroit covering up for the fact that Don Kelly is awful. Keep throwing low at the guy with knees made of popsicle sticks, Donnie. You fuck.
"A couple of days,” Martinez said. “I’ll get it.”
Martinez spotted batting coach Lloyd McClendon.
Still asleep in the same spot since last Spring. Morning dew fresh on his upper lip.
“How are you feeling?” McClendon asked.
"I’m getting ready for Opening Day!” Martinez said, joyfully.
Martinez spotted Gene Lamont. “Good to see you, Victor” Gene said. “Same to you.” Martinez said, happily.
Let’s go through every inane conversation Martinez had to fill space. No? Okay…
Which, of course, is great news for Tigers’ fans. If Martinez stays healthy and returns to form, the Tigers’ lineup will look incredibly formidable, especially at the top of the lineup.
This is where I point out that Victor hits in the middle of the lineup.
Later in the day, while taking batting practice a second time on a back field, Martinez spotted a member of the grounds crew in Lakeland.
Wow. We really are going to cover every single person that Victor spied with his little eye, aren’t we?
“What-up-what-up-what-up-what-up!” Martinez screamed, the words all jumbling together in one long exclamation.
This is why people behind the scenes love Martinez. He notices everybody.
Yes. Unlike that rat bastard Jhonny Peralta. The only people he notices are the ones bringing him his food.
(Submitted by L. Henning.)
“I’m all right,” the guy screamed back. “How are you?”
That’s what everybody wanted to know today: How are you feeling?
Meh. I’m still curious about those mysterious city workers painting the dugout, myself. Did Victor talk to them, by chance?
Judging by his smile, he was feeling great.
Smile = No more knee owie. It’s science.
“I’m feeling like it’s the first year of big leagues all over again,” Martinez said.
That was 2002 with the Indians. The Tribe went 74-88 that year. We’re doomed.
His last rehabilitation session was last week, and he admitted that he might be wearing the brace more for mental reasons than for protection. “The goal is to get out of the brace as soon as I can,” he said.
(eight seconds later)
Keep it on a while, Vic. The idea of Brennan Boesch, starting DH, scares the burning piss out of me.
At the end of practice, Martinez walked off the field and started signing autographs, even though he looked tired and was dripping with sweat.
This is why the fans love him.
No one else in baseball does this.
Because he’s so approachable.
TOP REASONS I LOVE VICTOR MARTINEZ, by Scott Rogowski
1. He’s not Delmon Young. (covered earlier)
2. He hits .300/.370/.470 with his eyes closed.
3. Real protection in the order for Miggy/Prince.
4. He’s not an Indian anymore.
5. Or with the Red Sox.
6. LITTLE VICTOR OMG!!!!
7. .319 career hitter with RISP.
8. Switch-hitter that can catch.
842. He’s so approachable.
“It must have been hard when your teammates were in the World Series,” a woman said.
The truth is, he couldn’t stand watching games and not playing.
Agreed. I was watching the same World Series everyone else was,.
One time last year, Martinez visited Detroit. At a time when he was barely walking, Martinez grabbed a bat and started swinging, even though he didn’t have permission. “I did a stupid thing,” Martinez said.
Victor Martinez’s version of a stupid thing >>>>>>Delmon’s
And he learned that he can’t be around baseball without wanting to play. “I just can’t,” he said.
In that respect, it was the worst year of his career.
Hard to believe that missing the season your team makes the World Series with a ripped up knee would suck. But there you have it.
But on a personal level, Martinez said it was the best year of his life because he had a chance to spend time with his three children.
“I got the time that I never had before to spend time with my family,” Martinez said. “I was able to go to bed and wake up with them every single day.”
/jerk mode off
Aww. Good for him. Seriously.
/jerk mode back on
Martinez spotted Austin Jackson near the indoor batting cages.
“Auuuuuuusssssstttttiiiinnnn!” Martinez screamed. And then he ran to Jackson and body slammed him.
(I don’t think Seidel knows what a bodyslam is.)
"He beat me up a little bit,” Jackson said, smiling. “But it’s all good. Everybody is happy to have him back. He means a lot.”
After the workout, Martinez sat at his locker, talking to several reporters.
“I had a blast today,” Martinez said.
He took off his brace, looking thrilled to be back with his other “family.”
“He’s got that look in his eye,” Leyland said. “He looks great. He feels great. He’s champing at the bit. So far, so good.”
Good job, Jimbo. We also would have accepted “He’s the ultimate team player. He’s taking it one day at a time. He’s a special kind of player. We’re a better team with him here.”
Cliches are fun.
But in all honesty, thank goodness Victor is back. A healthy V-Mart is nothing but good for the Detroit Tigers.
A hurt V-Mart means big trouble this season. But that’s a blog entry for another day…