It is September 11. On this date 10 years ago, I was in freshman-year study hall at Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis, Missouri, fighting for one of the few comfortable chairs in my high school library.
I wanted to take a nap. Or read a magazine. Or watch Sportscenter. I don’t quite remember.
Upperclassmen soon began streaming into the room, telling us freshmen to first “get the f@&k out of the padded chairs” and second to “put on the damn news.” A plane had accidentally struck one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
I remember being more confused than terrified as the tragedy played out on the television screen in front of us. I left the library after a few hours had passed and headed late to physics class. Our principal read us a prayer over the intercom around lunchtime before asking that all television sets be turned off. Every teacher in the school disobeyed. We all had questions. And I think we all felt affected. Neither of those has changed.
Your Saturday box scores:
Orioles 4, Blue Jays 5
Cubs 5, Mets 4
Indians 3, White Sox 7 (10 innings)
Reds 7, Rockies 12
Astros 9, Nationals 3
Twins 2, Tigers 3
Athletics 8, Rangers 7
Marlins 3, Pirates 0
Phillies 3, Brewers 2 (10 innings)
Braves 3, Cardinals 4
Red Sox 5, Rays 6 (11 innings)
Padres 5, Diamondbacks 6 (10 innings)
Yankees 0, Angels 6
Dodgers 3, Giants 0
Royals 4, Mariners 2
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/.359/.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.