I try to ac-cent-u-ate the positive and e-lim-i-nate the negative as much as possible, but it’s a long baseball season so it’s easy to get negative.
I tend to get the most negative about my own team when they’re not playing well. Oh, if you could take a man’s life for the thoughts that’s in his head I’d have been on that execution line many a times over the past 25 years. Between Robert Fick and Lonnie Smith I’m surprised I’m still living.
Jim Moore over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes through the exercise with respect to the Mariners today, trying to figure out who the most hated Mariner of all time is. He settles on Bobby Ayala but thinks that Chone Figgins is closing fast. Only Mariners fans can judge, though, because such assessments are inherently subjective. Only fans of a given team can speak to who that team’s most hated player is. Those on the outside just can’t understand.
I don’t know who the Braves’ most hated player is. Robert Fick was only there a year, but I truly hated him. It’s not Lonnie Smith. He was actually the only good player they had for a while there and I think people forgive him for his World Series (and other) transgressions. It might be John Rocker, but I bet that’s more because he embarrassed Braves fans more than he was actually hated, because he pitched pretty well while with the Braves. I have to give it some thought.
In the meantime, what say you? Who is the most hated player in your team’s history? Or at least recent history. Show your work, please.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.