Originally written on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 7/30/13
  Now, hear him out for a second this is interesting. When news first broke that Tino Martinez had allegedly physically and verbally abused players, I must admit I was skeptical. Given the Marlins appalling record alone, one can kinda understand why Martinez would be ticked off–doesn’t at all excuse any type of abuse though. But is this a case of abuse or just a bunch of prima donna kids not accostumed to the hard knocks world of the majors? Tino states the latter, per Fox Sports via Deadspin: “If Bernie Williams is hitting in front of me and I’m waiting with Paul O’Neill or whoever, there are no questions asked,” said Martinez, who played 16 years in the majors and won four World Series with the Yankees. “You help pick the balls up, and the next guy hits. Whoever is hanging around helps pick the balls up. It’s standard.” [...] If Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill and Derek Jeter can pick balls up for everyone else, so can this guy here who has no time in the big leagues—that’s what was in my mind,” Martinez said. “That’s what burned me up a little bit on the days they didn’t do that. And it went on for days before I even said something.” Ok, so apparently Tino was understandably pissed, he continued… So finally after about a month or so goes by, I decide I’m going to tell him something: ‘Hey Chris, help us pick up the balls.’ And he goes, ‘Why should I? I didn’t hit ‘em.’ And I said, ‘Pick up the balls, you’re part of this team.’ And he goes, ‘But I didn’t hit ‘em.’ So, I got in his face and I said, ‘Pick up the ******* balls. You’re part of this ******* team.’ I got in his face and said it kind of angrily. And he picked up the balls.” “I grabbed his jersey and said, ‘Because you’re ******* part of this team, pick the ******* balls up right now. Pick the ******* balls up. I’m tired of your ****.’ I probably pushed him backwards. That was it…I got in his face. There was no contact. I got in his face and told him he needed to change; he had one year in the big leagues, and he shouldn’t treat people like that. And I went on and on and on, probably dropped a few F-bombs. And that was it — a one-day deal there.” Ok, pause. Tino, calm down, no need to grab players, like at all–is that abuse though? Hmmm. He went on to speak about the time he challenged Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman to a fight. “That’s probably the only one I regret—he’s a good guy,” Martinez said. “I questioned his injury (a strained left hamstring that Kotchman suffered on April 5). I shouldn’t have done that. I felt bad about doing that.” Is he not merciful for admitting he crossed the line with Kotchman. If you’re to take Martinez for his word, this isn’t abuse–a case of a hitting manager being overly strung out because his team stinks and the kids are spoiled. Certainly. Martinez doesn’t get a pass for exploding on players though, and if Jeffrey Loria was a competent owner the situation would’ve been addressed and taken care of. Now Tino Martinez’s reputation is tarnished a bit from the experience. Not really sure what this whole ‘shift the blame’ game is about, but he’s told his side of the story. This is part and parcel to why bad teams stay bad. The lack of responsibility on that team from the young guys seemed all too obvious from the get-go, nothing Tino stated surprised me. Abuse or not so much?
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