There weren’t many good moments in tonight’s 8-0 Wild Card Game loss by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, you could argue that after the pre-game excitement, there was only one good moment. That came in the ninth inning, during Russell Martin’s final at-bat.
The game was easily decided by this point, which meant Martin was coming to the plate possibly for the last time as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The remaining crowd at PNC Park responded with chants of “Re-Sign Russ” during the at-bat. After Martin flew out to center field, the crowd responded with a standing ovation, which prompted a tip of the cap from Martin. The chants continued with “Rus-sel Mar-tin” during the next at-bat, with the fans showing their appreciation for the potentially departing catcher.
“That was pretty special,” Martin said of the moment. “To get that type of reaction from a crowd, especially when you’re losing a big game. That was definitely one of the coolest moments I’ve had in baseball.”
Clint Hurdle talked about the appreciation the crowd showed for Martin after the game.
“It’s excellent,” Hurdle said. “They’re appreciating the volume of work. For two years, they’ve watched this guy lay it all out like many of our men have and have been very appreciative of the difference he’s been able to make in our ball club — behind the plate, working with the pitchers, controlling the running game, the offensive part of it. He has been a pleasure and a very productive player for us.”
Martin said he wasn’t thinking about his off-season decision at the moment, although he did offer some good comments about his time in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve had more fun playing baseball here than I have my whole career,” Martin said. “I’m definitely going to keep that in mind when the decision time comes.”
That decision is going to be a big topic this off-season for the Pirates. For now, if this was the final at-bat for Martin, it was a great way to end his time as one of the best free agent signings in Pirates history.