Victor Martinez… Forever an Indian

Warning: Man crush alert!

I hate this.

I hate turning on my television to watch the playoffs and seeing Victor Martinez parade around in a Tigers uniform.  It sucks.  He was my favorite of the post mid 90’s Indians and might be my favorite Indian ever.  Now I’m forced to watch him play for the Detroit Tigers, a team that was our arch nemesis back in 2007, and help take them to the World Series.  How did we get to this point?  Shoot me.

I look at Victor in a Tigers uniform and I want to hate him.  I want to despise him for being so good for a team in a city and state that I hate so much, but I can’t.  I look at Victor and I still see the same guy that was the heart and soul of the Indians from his debut in 2002 up until his departure in 2009.  I still see the same guy that broke down into tears on the day he was traded to Boston and forced to give his departing interview in dark sunglasses to try and hide the fact he had spent the past half hour letting his emotions out.  It did no good.  You could tell he was just as upset to be leaving as we were to watch him leave.  I look at Victor and that’s exactly what I see.  I still see Victor.

I choose to blame the Dolan’s for this.  Afterall, it was their cheapness and revolving door philosophy that led to this.  Victor was still in his prime when we traded him away two and a half seasons ago.  It also didn’t help that he still had another year remaining on his contract and the fact that he made it known he wanted to be in Cleveland, the only organization he had ever known to that point.  Victor didn’t choose to leave Cleveland like so many that had come before him.  No, he was given away.  That’s what stings the most.

Yes, I understand that in the trade for Victor we received Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone, but it feels like we gave up so much more.  While Masterson appears to finally be developing into the ace pitcher many scouts thought he could be and Hagadone has shown potential in the minor league levels, Victor’s bat could mean so much more.  When you consider the pitching prospects the Indians have been able to develop and the hitting they haven’t been able to develop, Victor’s bat and professional approach at the plate could have made all the difference this year and moving forward.  Maybe by not trading away Victor the Indians get another player not named Lou Marson in the Cliff Lee trade that same year.

Consider this potential lineup…

  1. Michael Brantley, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B
  5. Carlos Santana, C
  6. Travis Hafner, DH
  7. Matt LaPorta or Random Player X in LF
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  9. Jason Kipnis, 2B

That looks a hell of a lot better than what the Indians were sending out on to the field every day to end the season.  Not to mention, Victor and Santana could spell each other rotating back and forth between first and catcher.  That’s a legitimate lineup with serious threats from 3 through 6.

But alas… it’s all just a dream.

Instead, I get to watch Victor lead the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position.  I get to watch Victor bat .330 overall and drive in 103 runs, good enough for 4th and 10th place in the American League this year respectively.  I get to watch Victor Martinez go legend by slamming a solo home run while straining an oblique muscle in the process, play the next five innings with said oblique injury grimacing in pain in the process, and say things like, “The only way I won’t play tomorrow is if I wake up and I’m dead.”

Nope, we don’t need a player like that around here.  Not at all.

So as much as I hate the state of Michigan, the city of Detroit, and the Tigers… I can’t root against them.  I can’t root against Victor Martinez.  As much as I want to, I just can’t do it and it’s for one very simple reason.

Victor Martinez will forever be an Indian…


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