Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, November 20, 2020

Former Rays prospect Brandon Martin gets life in prison after murdering three people with baseball bat

Former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brandon Martin has been sentenced to life in prison after murdering three people, including his father, with a baseball bat, according to Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.

Martin will not be eligible for parole during the sentence.

Martin, 27, was selected in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Rays. He went in the supplemental round and was the No. 38 overall pick. Martin, a shortstop, spent three seasons in the minors, hitting .211/.281/.371 over 628 plate appearances. Martin did not play in the minors following the 2013 season. He was released by the Rays in March 2015.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 08:55 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: murder

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. winnipegwhip Posted: November 20, 2020 at 09:59 AM (#5990090)
Martin actually beat up his grandfather once. His grandfather was former Cardinal great Pepper Martin.

The charges were "Assault on Pepper."
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5990099)
sentenced to life in prison after murdering three people, including his father, with a baseball bat

That's the sort of thing that will get you life.

A lot of rage is needed to get that many swings in. It must have taken a while.
   3. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 20, 2020 at 12:14 PM (#5990111)
The charges were "Assault on Pepper."
Sir... SIR...
   4. Rally Posted: November 20, 2020 at 12:43 PM (#5990115)
His defense attorneys tried to use his stats as evidence that he was incapable of doing that kind of damage with a baseball bat.
   5. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: November 20, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5990117)
Why does it seem like the Rays' scouting department was actively seeking out bad people? I mean, I can only think of Martin, Elijah Dukes, Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, Andrew Toles, and Aubrey Huff off the top of my head - but I can't think of more than 1 or 2 for anybody else.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5990118)
I don't think people with mental issues (Andrew Toles) and drug issues (Josh Hamilton) should be lumped in with bigots (Huff), domestic abusers (Dukes, Young), and murderers (Martin).

   7. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: November 20, 2020 at 12:57 PM (#5990120)
.211/.281/.371 over 628 plate appearances

He finally starts hitting people, and...
   8. Tin Angel Posted: November 20, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5990122)
A lot of rage is needed to get that many swings in. It must have taken a while.


It would depend on the launch angle though, right?


(I'm sorry)
   9. Rally Posted: November 20, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5990123)
I don’t know much about Toles but Hamilton fits in with Dukes and Young. I don’t know if it went to trial but he was facing felony charges for hitting his daughter. Josh Sale was another draftee, a year before Martin. Had drug suspensions and other incidents where I don’t think he did anything illegal but certainly didn’t look good.
   10. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: November 20, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5990125)
#6 - I'll agree that Toles is a bit of a different case than the others, but I'm not sure what we gain by trying to create distinctions without much difference beyond that. Your drug guy is also a domestic abuser. Your bigot and one of your domestic abusers were also drug abusers. The murderer checks all the boxes. Toles and five bad people? OK.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 01:44 PM (#5990135)
Forgot Hamilton had a recent domestic abuse incident. But most of these incidents came well after they left the Rays. I don't think scouting departments should really be held in any account for that.
   12. Ron J Posted: November 20, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5990138)
#5 It could be as simple as trying to buy low on talented people with known issues.

Wouldn't be the first time teams did that kind of thing. The Raiders at one time collected a bunch of "talented but more trouble than they're worth" players and made it work.

And going way back John McGraw had more than a few of those types of players. Didn't always work out, but he got a few good years out of Mike Donlin. And while I don't want to compare Donlin to Martin, he fits in with pretty much any other name. But then he also ended up with a remarkably corrupt team by the end of the teens. And seems to have changed course at that point. Rube Benton being the last of the talented but troubled player I can think of.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5990151)
NFL players like Dan Marino, Randy Moss, and Warren Sapp all dropped a bit in the draft for being bad apples (mostly drug issues) and all ended up as HOFers.

   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 02:33 PM (#5990152)

Sounds like Martin had some serious psychological issues -- depending on what those were, it could be something that manifested in his 20s, after the Rays drafted him.
   15. DCA Posted: November 20, 2020 at 03:30 PM (#5990165)
I thought I read something about Martin a few years ago that he pretty much had a psychotic break that preceded this.

Add to the list in #6 everybody's (least) favorite reliever thugs: Matt Bush and Josh Lueke.

Yeah, I'm guessing there's something in the TB culture that at least turned a blind eye to this, to a greater degree than other orgs.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 03:43 PM (#5990167)
Toe Nash comes to mind too
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 20, 2020 at 03:47 PM (#5990168)
The article indicates the crime occurred in September 2015 - that’s a long delay before trial, presumably because of questions about Martin’s mental competency, although the article doesn’t address that.
   18. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: November 20, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5990180)
NFL players like Dan Marino, Randy Moss, and Warren Sapp all dropped a bit in the draft for being bad apples (mostly drug issues) and all ended up as HOFers.
Well, yeah, and if the same team had drafted them all... plus Pac Man Jones, Lawrence Phillips, and Rae Carruth, there'd be a similar discussion.
   19. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: November 20, 2020 at 04:18 PM (#5990181)
brett myers
odubel herrera
   20. Zonk Saw Massive Dumps Posted: November 20, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5990184)
Sounds like Martin had some serious psychological issues -- depending on what those were, it could be something that manifested in his 20s, after the Rays drafted him.


Yeah. I hesitate to say it for a couple reasons* - but as much as it's simply right and proper (and safe) for society to lock him up, it would be better to try to understand why/how this happens. I'm not a big fan of "some people are just bad" and leaving it at that. Something *has* to be awry to beat your dad to death with a bat, much less an uncle and a stranger.

*First, of course, no human being - whatever crimes - should be turned into some kind of lab rat to just "study". Second, it goes without saying that something like murder is so terrible that we obviously protect society from the perpetrator by confining said person... but I'd like to at least hope that even the worst human being is somehow, at some level redeemable - if not wholly, just in a manner that recognizes our shared humanity... I staunchly oppose the death penalty in total, and I'm not arguing against the concept of "life without parole" in theory - just... there's gotta be something more than simply "He's so bad, we put him in a box till he dies and that's the end of it."
   21. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: November 20, 2020 at 11:14 PM (#5990380)
*First, of course, no human being - whatever crimes - should be turned into some kind of lab rat to just "study". Second, it goes without saying that something like murder is so terrible that we obviously protect society from the perpetrator by confining said person... but I'd like to at least hope that even the worst human being is somehow, at some level redeemable - if not wholly, just in a manner that recognizes our shared humanity... I staunchly oppose the death penalty in total, and I'm not arguing against the concept of "life without parole" in theory - just... there's gotta be something more than simply "He's so bad, we put him in a box till he dies and that's the end of it."


I view Tom Junod as one of the best living American journalists—maybe even one of America's best living writers. (Much to my dismay he's with ESPN now—that's not a knock on ESPN, just that I wish he wasn't writing about sports.) He's good, that's the bottom line. I suggest you read his GQ piece "The Rapist Says He's Sorry," which won a 1996 National Magazine Award. I don't recommend it to change your mind about anything, just that it gives the reader more to ponder. Apologies for the weird format at the link, it was the only place I found the full text.

This is a story about how hard it is to be good—or, rather, how hard it is to be good once you’ve been bad; how hard it is to be fixed once you’ve been broken; how hard it is to be straight once you’ve been bent. It is about a scary man who is trying very hard not to be scary anymore and yet who still manages to scare not only the people who have good reason to be afraid of him but even occasionally himself. It is about sex, and how little we know about its mysteries; about the human heart, and how futilely we have responded—with silence, with therapy, with the law and even with the sacred Constitution—to its dark challenge. It is about what happens when we, as a society, no longer trust our futile responses and admit that we have no idea what to do with a guy like Mitchell Gaff.


The Rapist Says He's Sorry
   22. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: November 21, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5990450)
#5 It could be as simple as trying to buy low on talented people with known issues.

Wouldn't be the first time teams did that kind of thing. The Raiders at one time collected a bunch of "talented but more trouble than they're worth" players and made it work.


The Bengals did it for many years during the Marvin Lewis era.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5990577)
Yeah. I hesitate to say it for a couple reasons* - but as much as it's simply right and proper (and safe) for society to lock him up, it would be better to try to understand why/how this happens. I'm not a big fan of "some people are just bad" and leaving it at that. Something *has* to be awry to beat your dad to death with a bat, much less an uncle and a stranger.

*First, of course, no human being - whatever crimes - should be turned into some kind of lab rat to just "study". Second, it goes without saying that something like murder is so terrible that we obviously protect society from the perpetrator by confining said person... but I'd like to at least hope that even the worst human being is somehow, at some level redeemable - if not wholly, just in a manner that recognizes our shared humanity... I staunchly oppose the death penalty in total, and I'm not arguing against the concept of "life without parole" in theory - just... there's gotta be something more than simply "He's so bad, we put him in a box till he dies and that's the end of it."


What else can you do but 1) confine him for life (whether in a secure psychiatric facility or prison makes little difference) or execute him? Whether he's evil or deranged, the world is not safe with him at large.

Any attempt to understand the why and how is irretrievably compromised by the huge incentive the perpetrator has to blatantly lie, and twist everything in the way that's most favorable for him. Many, many evil people are narcissists and excellent liars and manipulators.
   24. Lars6788 Posted: November 21, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5990582)
The guys mentioned probably had a mix of raw athletic talent and drafted out of high school, you could imagine them making good on their promise even if they could never outgrow their immaturity.
   25. John Northey Posted: November 22, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5990628)
I guess signing future criminals (and past ones) is an inefficiency that the Rays were trying to exploit. Most teams avoid guys with serious character flaws but the Rays seem to love chasing these guys. Someone should remind them they are in the majors, not the California Penal League.
   26. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5990630)
Many, many evil people are narcissists and excellent liars and manipulators.


I accept the notion that there are people who have done evil acts and ought to receive punishment for them. I don't think I accept the concept of 'evil people.'
   27. BaseballObscura Posted: November 22, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5990643)
Isn't saying the Rays had a penchant for signing questionable character individuals (future reprobates, junkies, murderers etc) a bit like the old fallacy about how all the cast of The Little Rascals died in sketchy ways befitting of a curse? Hey Alfalfa got stabbed to death etc.

If you take a random sampling of every teams minor league system, I am sure you can find a number of players who did bad things either before, during or after their baseball careers. Talented athletes tend to get all sorts of breaks/chances/priviliges because of their athletic ability, and jock culture in general encourages athletes to remain in a state of permanent adolescence.

It seems plausible to me that the Rays valued on-field potential over off-field character, but that wouldn't be proven by the outliers.

   28. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 22, 2020 at 01:52 PM (#5990678)
The late 80s-to mid-90s Yankees included five pedophiles: Mel Hall, Luis Polonia, John Wetteland, Roger Clemens and Chad Curtis.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 02:08 PM (#5990683)
I accept the notion that there are people who have done evil acts and ought to receive punishment for them. I don't think I accept the concept of 'evil people.'

Seriously? Adolph Hitler? Joseph Stalin? Pol Pot? Joseph Mengele? Ted Bundy? John Wayne Gacey?

   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5990684)
The late 80s-to mid-90s Yankees included five pedophiles: Mel Hall, Luis Polonia, John Wetteland, Roger Clemens and Chad Curtis.

That's unfair to lump them all together. Wetteland's a real pedophile. Mell Hall is a rapist. Curtis molested a bunch of teenage girls. Those three are clear violent criminals.

Polonia got busted for statutory rape, a misdemeanor. Clemens is accused of statutory rape, not convicted. Those two are creepy, but the crimes pale in comparison, and they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.
   31. Adam Starblind Posted: November 22, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5990697)
Polonia got busted for statutory rape, a misdemeanor. Clemens is accused of statutory rape, not convicted. Those two are creepy, but the crimes pale in comparison, and they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.


Yes, this is totally unfair to Statutory Rapist Polonia and Accused Statutory Rapist Clemens.

Coincidentally, both paramours were 15.
   32. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5990699)
Did I miss a news story? I don't remember Clemens ever having been accused of statutory rape. Assuming we're talking about Mindy McCready, I believe that both denied that there was anything sexual when she was a minor.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5990700)
Yes, this is totally unfair to Statutory Rapist Polonia and Accused Statutory Rapist Clemens.

Coincidentally, both paramours were 15.


Yeah, but consent makes a huge world of difference. That's why Polonia did 60 days and Hall's doing 45 years and Curtis 7-15 years.
   34. Adam Starblind Posted: November 22, 2020 at 04:41 PM (#5990710)
“Consent”
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 05:47 PM (#5990718)
“Consent”

Makes a world of difference.

You're not seriously saying that forcible rape and statutory rape are of equal gravity?
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 05:50 PM (#5990719)
Did I miss a news story? I don't remember Clemens ever having been accused of statutory rape. Assuming we're talking about Mindy McCready, I believe that both denied that there was anything sexual when she was a minor.

I don't think you did, which makes the comparison even more vicious.
   37. Adam Starblind Posted: November 22, 2020 at 06:51 PM (#5990730)
Is it really necessary to defend our favorite team no matter what?
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2020 at 08:47 PM (#5990757)
Is it really necessary to defend our favorite team no matter what?

I'm not defending any team. I can't stand Clemens. It's simply unfair to call Clemens, or Polonia a pedophile. Call them creeps if you want, but pedophilia is something different and far, far worse.
   39. Ron J Posted: November 22, 2020 at 09:07 PM (#5990763)
I find myself close to the same page as Snapper. It's a different place in the spectrum of wrongness. Creep isn't strong enough for Polonia (convicted). Clemens ... starts at creepy.
   40. Adam Starblind Posted: November 22, 2020 at 10:43 PM (#5990779)
Glad you guys have that sorted out. Pedos and creeps everywhere surely are grateful.
   41. BrianBrianson Posted: November 23, 2020 at 06:38 AM (#5990793)
I don't think I accept the concept of 'evil people.'

Seriously? Adolph Hitler? Joseph Stalin? Pol Pot? Joseph Mengele? Ted Bundy? John Wayne Gacey?


I don't really buy that there are good people and bad people like a binary, no. You can sum up someone's good and bad acts and get a total actions done, which would probably be a normal-looking distribution with most of us in the middle (maybe there are some features, of course). But that's not some intrinsic value of their character, it's just what they did.

Thinking of "good people" and "bad people" makes it too easy to convince yourself you're a "good person" and thus be unable to see when you're doing a bad act. So it's both impractical and not really accurate.
   42. bunyon Posted: November 23, 2020 at 07:58 AM (#5990794)
I actually think there probably are truly bad people but for Brian’s reason think it’s a terrible idea to act like it or put much weight on it. The danger is concluding that you - or someone else - is a good person and justifying actions because of that. Which happens constantly and, I’d argue is responsible for pretty much all the bad if organized religion. And other tribalisms.

Easy to find truly bad people. Pretty hard to find truly good people. Which makes judging anything other than actions foolish.
   43. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 23, 2020 at 08:07 AM (#5990795)

Yeah, but consent makes a huge world of difference. That's why Polonia did 60 days and Hall's doing 45 years and Curtis 7-15 years.

At least a part of Polonia’s light sentence is probably due to when he was convicted. Today he would have been guilty of a felony punishable by up to 40 years (It appears that Wisconsin, where the crime took place, now has some of the strictest statutory rape laws in the country). I’m sure he wouldn’t have done that much time, but I doubt he gets off with 60 days today.

The internet reminds me that Mark Whiten was also arrested for rape while with the Yankees in the 90s, although the charges were dropped.
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 23, 2020 at 09:08 AM (#5990802)
I actually think there probably are truly bad people but for Brian’s reason think it’s a terrible idea to act like it or put much weight on it. The danger is concluding that you - or someone else - is a good person and justifying actions because of that. Which happens constantly and, I’d argue is responsible for pretty much all the bad if organized religion. And other tribalisms.

Easy to find truly bad people. Pretty hard to find truly good people. Which makes judging anything other than actions foolish.


I'd agree. Coming from a Christian perspective I'd say there are no truly good people. We're all sinners and effected by original sin. Even a Saint who rarely sinned surely wanted to. Identifying "good people" who can do no wrong is intensely anti-Christian (at least in the Catholic/Orthodox interpretation). I guess it's more of a Calvinist "double-predestination thing".

So, to sum up lots of bad people, vanishingly few good people, and even if one is genuinely good that is no reason to justify a bad actions.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Andere Richtingen
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMLB non-tender deadline tracker: Yankees will keep Gary Sanchez; White Sox, Twins, Cubs make notable cuts
(5 - 8:13pm, Dec 02)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogNBA Post-Bubble offseason thread
(2001 - 8:09pm, Dec 02)
Last: Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean

NewsblogLet’s Fix MLB’s Salary Arbitration System: The Arbitrators
(18 - 8:08pm, Dec 02)
Last: Zach

NewsblogIs the Hall leaving out too many players?
(87 - 8:07pm, Dec 02)
Last: John DiFool2

NewsblogIchiro to coach high school baseball team
(8 - 8:00pm, Dec 02)
Last: John DiFool2

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(10691 - 7:53pm, Dec 02)
Last: Srul Itza

NewsblogA push to recognize the statistics of Black players from baseball’s era of apartheid
(50 - 7:24pm, Dec 02)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogSources: Isiah Kiner-Falefa to replace mainstay Elvis Andrus as starting Rangers shortstop next season
(19 - 5:48pm, Dec 02)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogTwins place Eddie Rosario on outright waivers
(9 - 5:34pm, Dec 02)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Winter Is Here
(226 - 5:00pm, Dec 02)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-2-2020
(2 - 3:48pm, Dec 02)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogMets To Sign Trevor May
(1 - 1:45pm, Dec 02)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogBill James: The Biggest Problem With WAR
(108 - 1:41pm, Dec 02)
Last: Rally

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2020 Ballot
(6 - 1:31pm, Dec 02)
Last: Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet

NewsblogSt. Paul Saints to become Twins' top minor-league team; Class AA in Wichita
(8 - 12:42pm, Dec 02)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

Page rendered in 0.4238 seconds
48 querie(s) executed