The sting of the trade is still fresh.
In spite of the fact that most fans saw the writing on the wall and knew J.D. Martinez was destined to be traded ahead of the July 31 deadline, it still hurt to see him go. Everything from his emotional farewell interviews where he talked about how welcomed he had felt in Detroit, to seeing him in an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey for the first time, it was a tough pill to swallow.
This won’t ease the pain, but there’s never a bad time to share this video, which captures a moment Tigers fans will still be talking about decades from now. On August 3, 2016 — fresh off the disabled list — Martinez was brought in to pinch hit against White Sox ace Chris Sale. The familiar chords of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” filling the stadium as the crowd clamored to their feet, rejoicing in the return of their beloved right fielder.
Then magic happened, in a moment right out of a movie. Sale’s first pitch was right in the zone.
Gone. Looooong gone. The ball sailed over the outfield wall and Martinez jogged around the bases, the roar of the crowd deafening. It was a season-defining moment, one of the greatest home runs in Comerica Park’s history.
It was, by far, the greatest moment in J.D. Martinez’s Tigers career.
So, on this day, a year after it happened, while we are still missing him, we take a moment to remember how wonderful it was to have J.D. Martinez in a Detroit Tigers uniform.