Tino Martinez Explains his Going too Far with some Miami Marlins Punks | Bob's Blitz

Tino Martinez Explains his Going too Far with some Miami Marlins Punks

FOX's Ken Rosenthal has a blood boiling interview with fired Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez. The 45-year-old Martinez describes three separate players who consistently refused to pick up balls after taking soft tosses -- picking up the balls is long time expected baseball practice. He opened with FOXSports.com by describing this expectation:

“If Bernie Williams is hitting in front of me and I’m waiting with Paul O’Neill or whoever, there are no questions asked,” said Martinez. “You help pick the balls up, and the next guy hits. Whoever is hanging around helps pick the balls up. It's standard.”

Seems Marlins players weren't as keen on the idea.

Martinez said that [Chris] Valaika often would follow veteran outfielder Juan Pierre in the batting cage but never help pick up balls after Pierre was done.

“One day I told Juan Pierre, ‘One of these days, he’s going to help us pick up the balls. He’s a 27-year-old journeyman. You’re a 15-year big leaguer. He will help us pick up the balls,’” Martinez recalled.

“So finally after about a month or so goes by, I decide I’m going to tell him something: ‘Hey Chris, help us pick up the balls.’ And he goes, ‘Why should I? I didn’t hit ‘em.’ And I said, ‘Pick up the balls, you’re part of this team.’ And he goes, ‘But I didn’t hit ‘em.’ So, I got in his face and I said, ‘Pick up the fucking balls. You’re part of this fucking team.’ I got in his face and said it kind of angrily. And he picked up the balls.”

From that point on, Martinez said, “it was never, ever a problem again.”

Fine. The next incident is a bit rougher.

[Derek] Dietrich, a rookie, joined the Marlins after Valaika was injured. About a week later, Martinez said he was soft-tossing to another Marlins player when Dietrich, the next hitter, declined to help pick up balls.

“I go, ‘Derek, help us pick the balls up,’” Martinez recalled. “He goes, ‘Why, I didn’t hit ‘em.’ I said, ‘I don’t give a shit if you didn’t hit ‘em, help us pick the balls up.’ He walked toward me, not angrily, and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t hit the balls, why should I pick ‘em up?’

“I grabbed his jersey and said, ‘Because you’re fucking part of this team, pick the fucking balls up right now. Pick the fucking balls up. I’m tired of your shit.’ I probably pushed him backwards. That was it.”

Martinez described this incident, too, as a one-time event. He said from that point forward, he worked well with Dietrich. Only after the Marlins sent Dietrich to the minors on July 22 did the incident become an issue, Martinez said.

“Derek, a day after he gets sent to the minor leagues, decides to say, ‘Tino grabbed me by the throat two months ago,’” Martinez said. “This came out of nowhere. We were working together for two months, fine.”

Both the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the players’ union was notified of the alleged incident.

The Sun-Sentinel said the notification occurred “well after the fact.” The Herald said the union also learned of other incidents involving Martinez and then contacted the commissioner’s office, “which was demanding action from the Marlins.”

Listen, it's a sport. But touching an employee is taboo. Unless you coach NCAA sports or in the NFL...

Martinez added "that Tim Smith, a batting-practice pitcher with the Marlins, witnessed his altercation with Dietrich — and that Smith confirmed to club officials that Martinez grabbed Dietrich by the jersey and not the neck."

Martinez said his other dispute with a player over picking up balls was with [Justin] Ruggiano in spring training. A player whose identity Martinez said he could not remember was feeding balls into a hitting machine for Ruggiano. According to Martinez, Ruggiano left the cage after he was done and returned to the clubhouse without picking up the balls he had hit.

“I was like, ‘Why did you let him do that?’” Martinez recalled saying to the player. “He said, ‘That’s just the way he is.’ I said, ‘We’ve got to change that.’ So one day I confronted (Ruggiano) and told him how he was a terrible teammate, how he treated the players, how he was this and this and this.

“I got in his face. There was no contact. I got in his face and told him he needed to change; he had one year in the big leagues, and he shouldn’t treat people like that. And I went on and on and on, probably dropped a few F-bombs. And that was it — a one-day deal there.”

And there's your trifecta. 2 out of 3 ain't bad. But Rosenthal adds, "Martinez’s disagreements with Valaika, Dietrich and Ruggiano, however, weren’t his only incidents with players cited in media reports.

“He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since Day One,” said one player to the Herald, asking not to be identified for fear of retribution."

But wait, there's more.

FOXSports.com...Tino Martinez speaks out about incidents that led to his resignation as Miami Marlins hitting coach

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