Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Tino Collector no more.

On Sunday, my buddy and I went to Hideki Matsui Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. Although we missed out on the Bobbleheads (we got there at 12:30 for a 1:05 game…and they were long gone), we enjoyed probably the best win of the season. Jeter homered on his first pitch back, Alfonso Soriano homered and hit a walk-off single, and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th to clip the win.

I was feeling pretty good. Once I got home around 5:30pm, I sat on the couch and pulled up Twitter since I didn’t check during the game. I wanted to see if I missed anything trade-related or any developments on the ARod fiasco. I saw one Tweet from a Yankee writer and it said, “Out of all the Yankees and Marlins, who would have thought Tino would be the first to go?” Hmm, I thought. The Marlins suck, so I guess they fired him as hitting coach. You know, the old fall guy. I then clicked the link and couldn’t believe what I read.

Tino Martinez resigned as Marlins hitting coach over allegations of verbal and physical abuse toward players. I was shocked. While with the Yankees, he was always very mild-mannered. He was an intense player, but I don’t remember many blow-ups on the field at all. Maybe because anything Paul O’Neill did overshadowed him? Every book I’ve read from those late ‘90s Yankees teams speaks of Tino’s intensity and desire to win, and that he, himself, was always his harshest critic.

Now, we’ve all had coaches who’ve used some four letter words before. But constant, verbal abuse, as being claimed here, is no joke. And you cannot, CANNOT, touch a player. Tino denies grabbing the player’s neck, although it does sound like he grabbed his jersey. The truth is somewhere in the middle I’m sure. Honestly, I played sports year-round for my entire life, and while some coaches had more colorful language than others, I never, ever had one that I would consider abusive, verbally or physically.

I simply can’t defend this or brush it off. Since becoming a father, I’ve viewed coaching bullying in a much, much harsher light. I know that one day my son will be playing sports, and it scares the hell out of me what could happen when no other parents are around. It really does. I see the way Mike Rice threw basketballs at Rutgers players while belittling them. That’s humiliating, and these are college athletes. Those are someone’s kids. I couldn’t imagine how a father of one of those players must have felt seeing his son get a basketball thrown at him during practice. It pisses me off.

Tino was always my favorite player, but he crossed a major line. And now I sit with a massive Tino Martinez card and memorabilia collection, and I'm not sure what to do. I recently reinvested a lot of time into organizing my collection and acquiring new cards, and now I can’t imagine spending money on his cards, knowing that each time I picked up a new one, he had been accused of some pretty horrible things.

I’m pretty confused and haven’t fully processed it. For now, I don’t think I’ll be acquiring any new Tino’s; at least I won’t be spending money on them. I just don’t know what to do with my current collection. Sell it? Sit on it and let it gather dust? I know a lot of people still collect guys with warts on their careers, whether it’s PEDs or DUIs or tax fraud or whatever it may be. I just don’t think I can in this instance.

In the meantime, I think I’ll just focus on TTMs, my Michael Pineda collection, and picking up some vintage Yanks. For a collector who already feels pretty lost with his place in the hobby, this doesn’t help.

Since I probably won't being doing too many more posts on him, here's a batch of Tino's I had scanned but had yet to show. 


  1. I'm sorry to hear your PC guy let you down. I went through a semi-similar situation a few months ago when I saw Francisco Cervelli's name on the Biogenesis list, kinda broke my heart.
    Personally I'd leave your Tino collection as is and revisit it at a later time and make a decision (whether or not you want to "get rid of it") then. Who knows? By then Tino might own up to his mistake and you might have a more positive and somewhat forgiving attitude towards him (hopefully).

  2. A.J., definitely sleep on this one for a while. People make mistakes, sometimes huge ones, and some of them do redeem themselves to the best of their ability. Some of them die trying, but never quite nail it. You don't have to pick up new Tinos in the meantime. Focus your tradebait and your cash on other stuff. The Tinos will still be there if you decide to come back to it. If you dump the cards and regret it, though, that's a lot of effort down the drain. Beyond that, speaking on a more selfish level, with this fresh in peoples' minds, you're probably not going to get a ton in return for your Tinos right now.

    On the bright side, you're talking about a guy who voluntarily resigned (or was allowed to "voluntarily resign", usually an indicator that an organization hasn't lost total respect for a guy) from a job because he did something wrong, rather than a guy like Chad Curtis (who I used to collect, never seriously, but I liked how he played and I'd keep his cards if I got 'em), who's accused of much, much worse: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/08/17/former-new-york-yankee-chad-curtis-convicted-touching-underage-girls/

  3. Excuse me, he's been CONVICTED. Brainfart on my part. Ugly, ugly story. A few of them from those teams (Leyritz is another...).