Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Tigers Meet Harlequin: The Rancher's Sweetheart
What You Need To Know: Victor was an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela and became the starting catcher for the Indians in 2004. After a few years with the Boston Red Sox, he signed a free agent deal with the Tigers in 2011. He has been money for Detroit, pretty much the only pure contact hitter we've had on the roster. That said, his tenure in Detroit has been marred by injuries - namely an ACL that saw him missing all of the 2012 season and a torn meniscus in 2015. Oh, and he apparently played all of 2016 with a hernia. Still, he finished the season with a .289 batting average, 27 homeruns and 86 RBIs. If I had a hernia I'd be lucky to get out of bed.
His Baggage: This is Victor's second time as a Tigers Meet Harlequin All-Star, having spent the 2013 inaugural season finding himself an unexpected single father and trying to help his son grieve over his mother's death. In real life, Victor has known his wife since they were 17-years-old, growing up in Venezuela. They have three kids and make their home in Florida.
Both Victor and his wife grew up around farming and they've purchased a large chunk of land south of Orlando. Victor is still one of the best hitters in the league, but he's slowed down considerably and he's in the twilight of his career. While most guys would likely take up golf in retirement, or look for ways to stay in the game, the Martinezes plan to take up cattle ranching. Because, of course.
The Proposed Category Romance Plot: He knows he can't play baseball forever, and his body has been telling him for a while now that there isn't much time left. When in a situation like this the smart guys start looking at post-retirement plans. He loved spending time on his uncle's farm growing up in Venezuela, and he wants that experience for his kids. Plus, if he's honest, he loves the hard, honest way of life. After a few minor setbacks, he's finally managed to purchase his dream plot of land in central Florida and is starting out with a small herd of beef cattle. Nothing big yet. He just wants to get his feet wet. What he didn't plan on was his kids unhappiness at being uprooted from the noisy distractions of city life, the locals' animosity that an "outsider" bought up so much land, and the local veterinarian talking to him like a simpleton when he asks her to come out to take a look at an ailing heifer. He should be insulted by her attitude, but all he can think about is how tempting her lips are and how long it's been since he's had a woman in his life.
The Heroine: Vet school was not a walk in the park, but she somehow managed to graduate from Cornell, top of her class. She's a bit of an anomaly, a female vet specializing in large animals. But farming is in her blood, having grown up on her family's small farm in central Florida. Now she's back, having taken over the practice from good ol' boy Doc Andrews. It took her some time to win over the locals (a large animal vet with boobs seemed to throw them off at first), but they're starting to come around.
What Harlequin Line?: Back in 2013 I put Victor in a Harlequin Special Edition and here we are again in 2017. I'm sorry Victor, you're just a Special Edition kind of guy.