Tino Martinez resigned as the Marlins’ hitting coach in the middle of last season amid allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive to players, later giving his side of the story that painted him in a much more sympathetic light as an authority figure simply trying to get young players to listen.
Eight months later Martinez is still talking about the situation, saying the following today during an interview with WFAN radio in New York:
I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be, not disciplined, but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things. I was trying to teach these guys. These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues. They just happened to be with the right organization that had injuries and got rid of the whole entire team the year before.
They were not taking advantage of their opportunity and it was bothering me that they weren’t working hard enough and weren’t appreciating what they had. I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job as a coach to try and get the most out of them.
Of course, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel points out, Martinez’s fellow coaches also had an issue with how he behaved as hitting coach. It wasn’t just the players and, beyond that, calling them “soft” doesn’t necessarily excuse his behavior either. When you take the job as a hitting coach for an extremely young, inexperienced, rebuilding team a big part of that job is finding a way to get through to those players. Regardless of whether he was in the right or in the wrong, Martinez definitely failed at that.