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Tino Martinez is still calling Marlins players “soft” eight months after resigning as hitting coach

Mar 27, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT

130729_tino_martinez_lg AP

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.

  1. paperlions - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Sounds like he was upset that “they walking around like they were 10-year veterans”, when they should have been walking around like rookies. I’m not sure what the difference is, but if I had access to their clubhouse, I’m sure I’d know.

    • moogro - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      There seems to be a massive encyclopedia of non-verbal body politics in baseball, seemingly more than any other sport. No wonder the learning curve is so steep and people are always getting into trouble with someone.

  2. unlost1 - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    well Tino was considered soft when he played too

    • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      Yeah, super soft when he hit that game-tying home run off Byung-Hyun Kim in the bottom of the ninth inning during Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        First….like homering of BK Kim was that hard of a thing to do.

        Second….how’d that series turn out anyway? I forgot.

      • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        How does the Diamondbacks winning that series relate in any way to the actions of Tino Martinez in that game?

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        *Looking up Tino in the 2001 World Series*



      • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        Again, your point? He came through in a crucial situation, which is the point being made. A game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a World Series game, which is one of the most crucial moments that can occur in baseball. All you’re doing is trying to debase it to put forth a counterargument with little substance and a lot of self-serving snark behind it.

        Does hitting .190 against two Hall of Fame pitchers who pitched in six games of a seven-game World Series (and took home MVP honors for it) lessen the contribution that Martinez made by hitting that game-tying HR? People will spend much of this upcoming season fellating Jeter on his career moments, one of which was that game-winning “Mr. November” home run, but that moment doesn’t happen without Martinez hitting a game-tying home run.

        What’s your next plan, debasing Kirk Gibson’s game-winning HR in the 1988 World Series due to the fact he only had 1 PA?

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        1 HR per PA is actually really good.

        4 Hits in 23 PAs is actually really bad.

        Also, who were the HOF pitchers when he hit .170 in the other 2 rounds that year?

      • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        “Also, who were the HOF pitchers when he hit .170 in the other 2 rounds that year?”

        As we get further and further away from the point. JFC.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        The point that he was successful in 1 significant at bat in the entirety of the 2001 playoffs, which ultimately was a failure, yet you pointed to it as some sort of sign of his….I don’t know….I’m guessing “grit”?

        Maybe if he hadn’t been so crummy the rest of the playoffs they may have won. How’s that for a point?

      • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        “The point that he was successful in 1 significant at bat in the entirety of the 2001 playoffs, which ultimately was a failure, yet you pointed to it as some sort of sign of his….I don’t know….I’m guessing “grit”?”

        Not at all.

        Your argument is revisionist history. That game-tying HR in the bottom of the ninth in Game 4 changed the entire complexion of that series; the heavily-favored Yankees were down 2-1 going into that game and were, up until that play, looking to be down 3-1 with the last two games being played in Arizona.

        Yes, the Yankees still lost that Series, but they didn’t lose because Martinez was “so crummy”; they lost because they were three outs away from a championship and the greatest closer in baseball history had his biggest failure as a professional, allowing that trickling hit to Luis Gonzalez.

        It seems to me that what you’re arguing is that Tino Martinez is somehow “soft” because he didn’t play well in the playoffs in 2001. Moreover, it seems like you’re placing the blame on Martinez for the 2001 WS loss, which really makes no sense as he was not the pitcher on the mound in the 9th inning of Game 7. Not only that, but Martinez in the World Series still out-hit most of his teammates. His OPS (.594) was better than Derek Jeter’s (.438), David Justice’s (.397), Chuck Knoblauch’s (.161), and Scott Brosius’s (.542).

        Is clutch hitting “soft”? Is coming up with a huge hit in a major moment in a game somehow negated by a lack of performance otherwise? (Ignoring the fact that Martinez went on to hit decently in Games 5-7 of the ’01 Series)

        You can call him plenty of things (and in this instance I think something like “seasoned douche” would apply), but “soft” shouldn’t be one of them.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        You are such an entertaining homer. YOU brought up 2001.

        The same playoffs that you have probably pointed to dozens of times as the reason a terrible-fielding Jeter is deserving of all his Gold Gloves.

        (Also, since you are easily confused apparently…I didn’t call him “soft”….only an idiot would refer to a professional athlete as “soft”…*snicker*)

      • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        I kind of figured that this had some root in anti-Yankees bias. IIRC you’re a Red Sox fan, right?

        Ignoring your transparent snark and condescending tone…I’m a Phils fan, not a Yankees fan.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:40 PM


        Usually it is Yankee fans that absurdly point to one singular instance as a justification for a player’s greatness.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    He’s just mad because he’s running out of money to buy eye makeup.

  4. tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Tino probably should have cleared his tactics with the manager first to make sure they were on the same page, but it’s probably not a good sign when rookies on a team as bad as the Marlins think a guy with multiple World Series rings and who dealt with the pressure of taking over 1B for Mattingly in NY doesn’t have some good advice about what it takes to succeed in the majors.

  5. barrywhererufrom - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    I wonder if Tno was a hitting coach of a veteran team would he still have a job. The disconcerning fact is that his fellow coaches had an issue with him. Maybe the Marlins were not the right fit for Tino. It is a fact that he was a winner in NY and he was a mentally tough player. It was pretty suprising when this whole situation came down Yankee fans thought this very unlike his nature.

    • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      Wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was the atmosphere in Miami that made things go sour. This is the same franchise that dismissed two quality coaches (Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzales) for no good reason, and a team that basically treats players like stock options (buy low, hold, then sell high and get a net profit for the boss).

      I think Martinez could be a good hitting coach were he given another chance.

  6. genericcommenter - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    The guy who “doesn’t belong in the big leagues” is beating out a whole bunch of other guys to make the team, and tore up the minors before he was there.

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you say that, but I’ll say this: tearing up the minors is a far cry from being a major leaguer. Plenty of guys have torn up the minors and weren’t able to carry that performance over when they made the jump to the big league club. Tearing up the minors doesn’t mean you don’t need to take advice from your big league coaches. Looking at the team’s stats from 2013, I don’t see anyone on the roster who couldn’t have played better. Of the players mentioned in the first article linked above, none of them did anything remarkable at the plate and if they weren’t listening to Tino’s advice or had crappy attitudes and acted like they were All-Stars or something like that, then they deserved to be yelled at. If the other coaches accepted that type of behavior, then I don’t blame Tino for walking away because that’s not a good atmosphere to work in.

  7. cshearing - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    It could be that Tina was being too harsh, and getting pissed off at little things that he should have let go.

    It also could be that some of the young guys were not putting in the effort expected of major league players, and maybe ignoring the hitting coach’s advice.

    In my experience, it most likely was a little of column A, and a little of column B.

  8. Andee - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    I’m kind of wondering why there haven’t been any names surfacing? Like, is he talking about Stanton? Ozuna? Yelich?

  9. powershowcase - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    He had problems with Echevarria, Ruggiano, but mostly Derek Deitrich. Things got dicey when he got physical with Dietrich in the batting cages before a game. The straw that broke Redmond was Tino verbally going after guys, in game, very negatively, not constructively. Redmond asked Tino several times to publicly praise and privately criticize. Tino, I guess, didn’t want to hear it from a career back up catcher. Tino is a legendary prick, all the way back to his days at University of Tampa.

    • tuberippin - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      So the hitting coach had problems with three guys who could not and still can not hit a lick….

  10. jimmymarlinsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Heck and DD are still very young and could develop into serviceable at the plate but it doesn’t give Tino the right to not act like a professional either. He didn’t and still refuses to take the high road which makes him a prick and one who probably isn’t very aware of his surroundings

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