FSU’s Martin Is a Gem

Posted: May 31, 2012 in Florida State Seminoles
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m a big Mike Martin fan. I think the FSU baseball coach is as good it gets in his profession. On top of that, he’s on my top 5 list of the best people I have met in covering sports for more than 50 years.

Okay, he’s never led the Seminoles to an NCAA baseball championship. Nobody’s perfect.

Unfortunately, that’s what is brought up most often when the subject turns to the FSU coach. And because we live in a world where one ring can wipe away a lot of failures and in a world where no ring can overshadow years of outstanding success, Martin seldom gets his due.

I’m in the minority on this. I understand that. But in my world, a true sign of greatness is consistently performing well at the highest level – through the different eras and with a constantly changing cast of teammates and foes.

Martin has taken the Seminoles to 33 consecutive NCAA tournaments. He has guided FSU to 14 College World Series. Those are staggering numbers that reveal Martin’s excellence in recruiting, coaching and leadership.

Maybe this year will be the year Martin gets that coveted ring. The Seminoles enter the tournament seeded No. 3 overall.

If FSU doesn’t win the title, Martin will hear the same ol’ criticism, mostly from his own fans: He can’t win the Big One. Some will suggest – again – that it’s time for Martin to step aside, enjoy retirement and let someone younger take a crack at coaching FSU.

It has been argued that anyone who has a clue to what he’s doing can have a reasonable amount of success coaching FSU’s baseball program. I agree. FSU makes baseball a priority. It has some of the finest facilities in America. It is located in a baseball-rich state where the sport can be played year-round. Those are huge advantages over, say, the Michigans of the world. Still, it isn’t as easy as it seems.

Martin and I have joked about how basketball coaches moan about losing players to the pro game after only one season. We laughed about how football coaches were livid when star players were allowed to leave after three seasons.

College baseball coaches have fought those battles for decades. Martin can’t count the number of blue-chip recruits he worked – and signed – who never spent one day as an FSU student. High school baseball stars have gone straight to pro ball since the days of Cobb and Ruth. Top programs have to recruit the top players, but they also must work tirelessly to find the players who are ignored by the pro scouts but have the potential to develop into all-Americans. It is a task that loaded with frustration.

And it is worth noting that baseball is a game where winning 70 percent of your games is outstanding. Imagine fans of elite football programs being happy with a 7-3 record? Inferior baseball teams can beat the best with one hot pitcher, one crucial error or one line drive hit right at a defender.

The odds are Martin would have won a national title by now. Maybe this will be the year. Mike Martin deserves one, not to prove he can coach, but to please those people who don’t understand the game and what he’s already accomplished.

 

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  1. […] FSU’s Martin Is a Gem « lammatlarge. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Posted in 2012 […]

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