It's the one thing that has eluded Victor Martinez throughout his baseball career: a World Series championship ring. At 35 years old, his opportunity to reach that goal is dwindling, and he knows it. "You have to [have a sense of urgency]. You're not getting any younger," he said during TigerFest. "You're getting older, and you know that the end of your career might be right at the corner. You don't have much chance to keep trying. That's it. It's sad, but it is what it is."
The Detroit Tigers' designated hitter had a respectable 2013 with a .301 average, slightly below his career .303, and a .355 on-base percentage. His .430 slugging percentage could have been better, resulting in a .785 OPS -- .850 or higher would have been ideal -- but considering the fact he had to sit out all of 2012 due to a torn ACL, things could have gone a lot worse for Detroit.
Martinez got off to a slow start -- he had a .240 average at the end of June and never got above .250. However, he turned things around in July, jumping to an average of .390, and remained consistent for the remainder of the season.
Martinez no longer worries about an injury that benched him for over a year. Saturday he commented on the distinct difference between this off-season and last year's: "Definitely way better; I'm ready to start playing games tomorrow. This point last year I was just starting to run the bases."
Nevertheless, for all his hard work, Martinez again was denied the career milestone of achieving a World Series pennant in 2013. Watching that slip away from him once more was anything but comforting. "It takes time; you go into the off-season with that bad taste in your mouth," he said.
Martinez continued: "Make[s] you go into the off-season and work even harder. God been great to me, my family. I think he's gonna do something before I retire."
While the Detroit Tigers would have been lucky to get a fraction of the man back that Victor Martinez left the 2011 season as -- he had a .330 average and a .850 OPS -- instead, they saw him return to the 2013 season in full form after a re-adjustment period.
With Martinez healthy and free to run the bases, in addition to Miguel Cabrera having been fully cleared by trainer Kevin Rand, this may be the year Victor Martinez finds what he's been looking for; along with the rest of Detroit.