The thing I like most about Russell Martin‘s game, is that he has a whole other level he can play at when the situation calls for it. Obviously Martin always plays hard and with plenty of passion, but when a game tends to be more important, it’s not hard to see that his level of play gets even better than it normally is.
You can really see Martin’s focus and commitment to perfection behind the plate happening a lot more recently as he tries to do everything possible to put the Blue Jays in a position to win and get back on track after such a miserable start. Usually he doesn’t bring out his very best game until the final stretch drive or in the post-season, but seeing as the Blue Jays are off to such a poor start, he’s had to step things up a notch here in the very first month of the season. To play like this, where you have to be mentally on for every single moment of a ball game takes a ridiculous amount of concentration, especially for a catcher, who’s involved, in one way or another in every pitch.
This kind of approach to the game has a lot to do with Martin’s competitive nature, but it also has something to do with his pride and being the lone Canadian on the roster. Martin knows (more so than any Blue Jay) how much this team means to Canada, and as long as he’s playing for Toronto, there’s no way in hell he’s going to allow them to not play to their full potential.
Proud players like Martin and Troy Tulowitzki still have two and four years remaining on their contract after this season, and they aren’t going to accept Toronto having an off year and potentially see so much of this ball club traded away. As long as players like Martin and Tulowitzki remain Blue Jays, they want more than anything for this team to remain as competitive as can be, and that means not prematurely parting with any of their best players because of a lack luster start.
I don’t like to say that there is a player on the Blue Jays who is the most important, but right now, I believe Martin has become the most important player on this ball club. He has the biggest impact of any one player with respect to what he does with the pitchers…he contributes offensively with his bat…and because of his competitive spirit and patriotism, he will not let this team underachieve one bit. Especially when this ball club has only recently become successful again after so many long years of disappointment and not making the post-season.