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Can you love a team and hate the players?

I’ve long maintained that following your local club is like being overly
interested in the Kinko’s on the corner, knowing too much about the height,
weight and varying abilities of the different clerks. The Kinko’s
corporation doesn’t really care about you in return, and neither, really,
does your baseball club.

Despite living in Seattle for 20-some years, I gave up on the Mariners
during the dark Woody Woodward years and started following the Astros,
other clubs and a lot of minor-league ball. I got interested again when
Safeco Field opened, and now I have to face the question of whether I want
to support a business that’s just traded for Al Martin.

Al Martin, for the record, now denies all charges against him, but for
those of you who have been living in a magical world of nuts and berries
where there’s no TV, no radio, no newspapers and no Internet hook-ups,
here’s a brief rundown:

  • 1991: Martin marries his first wife, who becomes Cathy Martin.

  • 1998: Martin marries his second wife, Shawn Haggerty, who becomes Shawn
    Haggerty-Martin.

  • 2000: Martin and Haggerty-Martin are arrested for beating on each other in
    a fight that started when Shawn got frustrated that Al wouldn’t divorce his
    first wife.

Al Martin, as far as we know, has not yet divorced either wife. He may yet
be prosecuted for bigamy in Las Vegas, and he has not yet been to court for
his two misdemeanor charges of "assault-physical injury and
threatening or intimidating."

It doesn’t matter if Haggerty-Martin punched Martin first or not. Al Martin
is six-foot-four and listed at 214 pounds. Even if she did punch him, Al
didn’t leave or call the cops–he beat her up until she called 911. I don’t
know what Haggerty-Martin’s vital stats are, but judging solely by the
pictures, she’s not anywhere near six-foot-four and 214 pounds. Martin is a
great, strong man.

He could have killed her.

I like going to Safeco Field. It’s a great park and a great time. I enjoy
spending time with my friends watching Mark McLemore get thrown out
stealing second base. I like a lot of the Mariners; Alex Rodriguez
is a joy to watch and a cool guy to boot; Edgar Martinez is a
hitting wonder; I think the world of Jay Buhner as a person…and so
on. And while I wouldn’t hire Al Martin to sweep my driveway, and I
understand that the Mariners are in this to win, not protect women, I find
it laughable and offensive that the Mariners sponsor a campaign against
domestic violence–they gave out "Refuse to abuse" T-shirts at a
game recently–and then acquire an accused wife-beater and bigamist.

This is like Exxon asking me to keep my motor oil out of the groundwater
system in 1989. And just as I’ve yet to buy a drop of gas from an Exxon
station, it is my great hope now that I will be able to be even stronger
and refuse the Mariners my support.

Derek Zumsteg can be reached at dzumsteg@baseballprospectus.com.

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