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Report: Tino angered by players who didn't pick up baseballs

     Tino Martinez snapped and threw tantrums when Marlins players didn't pick up baseballs.

     That's the gist of a story [read here] posted this morning by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports in which Martinez gives his version of events that led to Sunday's resignation. Martinez said he became angry when Marlins players Justin Ruggiano, Chris Valaika and Derek Dietrich didn't pick up baseballs in the batting cage -- a common baseball courtesy -- when the former hitting coach asked them to.

      "True," a source said of Martinez's version of events. "And it makes him sound crazy."

      As he did in his Sunday post-resignation press conference, Martinez acknowledged he directed profanity-laced anger toward players and grabbed Dietrich by the jersey. He also added a new detail to the Dietrich incident: "I probably pushed him backwards."

      "Do you realize I'm basically out of baseball basically because a couple of players didn't pick up balls in the cage when I asked them to?" Martinez told Rosenthal.

      Well, Martinez's anger issues didn't stem solely from players not picking up baseballs. Martinez confirmed a South Florida Sun-Sentinel story in which Martinez challenged injured first baseman Casey Kotchman to a fight when he questioned the player about the injury ("That's probably the one I regret," Martinez said in the Fox Sports story. "I shouldn't have done that. I felt bad about doing that."). Martinez also acknowledged a run-in with Matt Downs in spring training that had nothing to do with not picking up baseballs. Downs was taking advice from another hitting coach, Greg Norton. That's what caused Martinez to erupt that particular time.

      And Ruggiano disputed Martinez's contention that he refused to pick up baseballs.

      “Tino and I had an incident in the batting cage on Opening Day that had nothing to do with picking up baseballs,” Ruggiano told The Herald after reading the Rosenthal story. “I’ve never had an issue picking up baseballs -- or picking up (helping) guys who need to run off and do other things. After that incident, we had no other problems.”

      It's unimaginable to think that the Marlins are the only team in the majors whose players don't like picking up baseballs -- if, in fact, that's the case -- or that Marlins players have lousy etiquette because they received poor instruction. Ruggiano, Valaika and Dietrich are all relative newcomers to the organization, as are Kotchman and Downs. They received most of their baseball training elsewhere.

      Nor, probably, is Tino Martinez the first major league hitting coach driven to anger and frustration by players not following orders or heeding advice, as he says.

      He's just the first one that we know about who lost his job because of it.


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I know there are those that say that "these kids need to toughen up and not complain" but the fact is that with this newer generation they simply don't respond to the Ultra Disciplinarian style of coaching. And is it ever ok to put your hands on another person? Tino may have been a accomplished player but if coaching causes him this much anger and stress than he isn't cut out for it. Look at the numbers as well...The Fish have the lowest BA in the league so screaming and yelling and grabbing wasn't working anyways.

One question I do have is where the hell was Mike Redmond during all of this? I do not think that this shines a positive light on him in any way. The Manager has to have control of his coaches as well as his players and clearly Mike did not.

There is already enough fear based tactics with the Marlins Organization and having a coach freak out over balls not being picked up and assaulting players is not ok. Get a handle on your clubhouse Mike!!

BTW solid reporting Clark. Your story went national. Well done.

Marlins fan

Excellent job reporting the truth, unlike the phony, arrogant shill on the Marlins own MLB website.


Assault?!!! That's a reach. Lets get them all 5th place trophies at the end of the season so their feelings aren't hurt. Fact of the matter is these guys with few exceptions have no business playing at this level and if picking up balls is common courtesy the you just do it.

I'm not an old fart who thinks old school but if these guys were any good and had ego problems while still not acceptable it's certainly understandable. Who the hell was Ruggiano up until last year. Give me a break.


So grabbing a person when they don't do what you say is acceptable? And yes if you or I did that to someone it would be assault. Regardless of who is on the team and whether or not they "belong" at this level is irrelevant. There is another way to teach players how to be respectful of the game but throwing a temper tantrum and becoming abusive isn't one of them. And this wasn't just Ruggiano and Dietrich it included veterans like Kotchman and Downs. Challenging players to fight and then getting pissed when a player is seeking advice elsewhere. Sorry this isn't on the players.

Stan M

I had posted on the last blog about where was Redmond when this first happened in Spring Training. Also why did he and the other coaches let Tino go on to this collision course. Was there resentment? Did he make more money than the other coaches? Did Redmond worry that Tino was being groomed as his replacement. There is more to this than we know at this stage. And Flags, I think many ballplayers get grabbed by the shirt front over the course of a year with 25 young men so closely in association. Was it wrong? Probably. Should it have led to Tino's demise? Now there's the question.


Perhaps it's semantics but I have a problem using the word assault and abuse when we are referring to what I assumed were grown men. Particularly if we are just talking about four letter words. Though I agree challenging someone to a fight should not be tolerated and should've been nipped in the bud as soon as it happened.

They do sound like spoiled brats and I'm sure it's not a marlins thing. I don't envision Hanley or kemp picking up baseballs. Though he has a point if Jeter and Bernie Williams can pick up baseballs Rugianno and Deitrich ought to have no issue with it.

Baseball Stew

Tino will come out of this smelling like a rose. The Marlins spoiled brats,including minor league lifer Ruggiano,will come out smelling like ,well ,you know.


I won't be surprised to see Dietrich get traded in the near future...I'll be disappointed to see him go. He has a lot of upside.


Ruggiano hasn't had a hit in almost a month, so who the heck would they trade him to?

Stan M

Spitballer, I think they would trade Solano before Dietrich and don't even expect that to happen.


Spitballer...As far as trading DD is concerned, I think he won the battle and will stay here. I think if Tino had been allowed to stay on, that would indicate that he had won the skirmish and that Dietrich would not be around for long.

Flav C.

If Cogs was back and healthy, I would think they would try to move Ruggi somewhere. But don't see that happening now.

Cleveland Spider

From the reports I have read, it appears that Dietrich is a disrespectful brat who has no respect for the history of the game. It seemed to me like Dietrich did not listen to the coaches as he was trying to hit a homerun every time he came to the plate. If a great ex-player who is now your hitting coach in the majors tells you that you have to pick up baseballs you do it. Dietrich has not accomplished anything and yet he feels like he is entitled too something.

Bottom line, you have to pay your dues. Dietrich is what is wrong with young athletes today. Twenty years ago Martinez could have slapped the crap out of Dietrich for dis-respecting him and the game. Now these kids who feel like they are entitled to something throw a tantrum and a good man loses his job. Tino should had every right to put these selfish young athletes in their place, IMO. Too bad the Marlins brass and Redmon did not have the guts to stand up for their coach.

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