Archive for the ‘Russell Martin’ Category

Since 2011, I’ve developed something of a Pavlovian response to the Pirates and early-season winning: I expect a collapse. And I was expecting a collapse this year, until not very long ago. But on Sunday afternoon, when I saw Russell Martin walk off to secure a sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The video isn’t yet available for embedding from MLB.com, nor is it available on their YouTube page. (Ed. Note: Found it!) However, there are what looks like hundreds of videos with single-digit views. I’m not really sure what they’re doing with that page. You can see Martin’s walk-off here, though.

Martin’s knock — a squibbing grounder past the outstretched Jean Segura‘s glove — wasn’t much. It was the perfect cap for a slog of a game — 14 innings, a two-hour rain delay that knocked out both starters within two innings, and just 10 hits prior to the Pirates’ mini-rally to win it. It was the Springfield Tire Yard Fire of baseball games. Six hours and still burning strong!

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Canada v United States - World Baseball Classic Tornoto Day 1

It would appear as though it’s not just Canadian baseball fans who are perplexed by Russell Martin’s decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. At least one of Martin’s Canadian peers, Justin Morneau, is left scratching his head following the wannabe shortstop’s catcher’s last minute departure from the roster.

Morneau, in speaking with members of the Canadian media, offered up his own disappointment at the news that Martin bowed out of the tournament due to his new club’s concerns over him playing shortstop.

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Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees

Team Canada will be without one previously committed established Major Leaguer as Russell Martin has chosen to withdraw from the tournament. Martin’s decision to remove himself from the World Baseball Classic is reportedly due to the Pittsburgh Pirates resistance to him playing shortstop. Martin, a catcher by trade, agreed to a two-year deal with the Pirates in November.

Martin, via Tom Singer of MLB.com:

“They both were uneasy about that,” Martin said, “and I simply didn’t want to catch. It’s just too much grind. The catcher’s out there the whole game, and it just takes your body so long to recover from catching 20 innings or so.”

“I feel sorry for (Team Canada), but sometimes you just have to look out for what’s best for you. You have to make a personal choice. But I’m really sorry for how all this went down.”

Tough break for Team Canada, but it’s not surprising to learn that the Pirates were not thrilled about their new catcher undertaking shortstop duties. Team Canada’s first World Baseball Classic game is March 5 versus Italia.

Russell Martin of the New York Yankees is good catcher. He was once a great catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers but now, as the ravages of catching take their toll, he is merely adequate. His time draped in the tools of ignorance doom his body to lessened bat speed and too many creaks to mention. Once a patient player capable of hitting for a high average and even stealing some bases, he now just walks a little bit and hits Yankee Stadium home runs.

As a league-average catcher with a strong defensive reputation who also happens to be a free agent, Russ Martin is looking for a four-year deal worth close to $40 million. He might not get that but it won’t be far off.

All that changes when Russell Martin dons the red of his home nation of Canada. Not only does he change his name to Jussell he also ceases to be a stalwart behind the plate. In Russell Martin’s mind, Russell Martin is a shortstop just yearning for his chance.

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