Martinez ready for return to Boston

Martinez ready for return to Boston

Martinez ready for return to Boston
DETROIT -- For the second straight year, the Tigers have a former member of the Red Sox going back to Boston. Victor Martinez's reception, however, should be a little sweeter than the one Johnny Damon received last year.

That's certainly what Martinez hopes.

"You know what? To be honest with you, I don't think I did anything bad, anything wrong when my time was up there," said Martinez, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Tigers as a free agent last November. "I'm just hoping that the fans know that it's part of baseball. You work all your life, you work so hard, and now you need to take care of your family, too. I'm just hoping they understand that. But we'll see what happens.

"Either way, nothing against them. There's no hard feelings against anybody. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization, the city, the fans. It was one of my great experiences in my big league career."

Martinez's tenure in Boston lasted just under a season and a half, but it made a lasting impact on him and the club. By all accounts, he was one of the more widely respected players in the clubhouse, and he was a popular figure among fans. The Red Sox made a strong push to keep him, but the Tigers had made Martinez their top priority.

Martinez saw some of his ex-teammates when the Red Sox made the trip to Lakeland, Fla., for a Spring Training game in March, but he missed several others who weren't on the travel roster. Just as important, he didn't see many of the fans.

Those fans booed him in 2007, when he and the Indians were trying to finish out the American League Championship Series and earn a World Series berth. They cheered him heartily two years later, when the Indians dealt him.

"The fans are great if you play for them, but they can be really tough when you play against them," he said. "It's fun, though. They're great fans. They really support their teams 100 percent. The time I was there, we'd be losing 10-0, 13-1, and they always stay there and wait for the 27th out. For me, and I think for most players, that's something to be proud of, having the fans back you up and give you great support. They're great fans.

"But it's fun. Before, I went out there as a visitor, and they were tough. I was there for a year and a half, and they were great. I'd rather have them on my side. But it's all good, man. They're great fans. It's something else."