Spring training is upon the Mariners and baseball fans this week, so who better to talk ball with than Edgar Martinez?
Recipient of the Royal Brougham Legends Award, given for sports excellence among the state of Washington’s retired athletes, coaches and administrators, at the 78th annual Star of the Year event Jan. 26, baseball’s greatest designated hitter stopped by the Sportspress Northwest booth at the Benaroya Hall red carpet for a visit with Art Thiel (in two parts, no less).
Martinez, 50, talked about his foundation’s work with baseball-playing kids, his conversation with the Mariners’ Jesus Montero about mastering the awkwardness of the DH role, as well as the move of the Safeco Field fences. Imagine if the Mariners had the fences in 1999, when Safeco Field opened, where they will be in 2013, in the final 5½ seasons of Martinez’s Seattle career.
In the most recent balloting for the baseball Hall of Fame Martinez drew about 35 percent of the votes, when 70 percent is needed for selection. He remains the only player in his with a lifetime career batting average of .300, an on-base percentage of .400 and a slugging percentage of .500, who has yet to make the Hall.
The M’s should have Edgar talk to the DH’s of the team throughout the year. Most players seem to have issues with playing the position even when they’re a fulltime DH. Edgar had a solid approach by staying busy and working up a sweat during the game or watching video of his last AB when not on the field. I know he has his own seperate career now but surely the club can make it worth his while to keep in touch with players a few times during the season, if they don’t already.
Edgar was uniquely gifted in terms of focus, and also knew his fielding days were behind him. Montero and most of the younger guys won’t commit the energy to DH because they think it is beneath them.