Dunlap: About Time Marte Got Called Out

Colin Dunlap
March 05, 2019 - 10:41 am
Starling Marte

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

BRADENTON, Fla. 

There haven't been many surprises in our time in Spring Training.

The Pirates' starting rotation is good --- we knew that.

The Pirates' infield defense isn't good --- we knew that.

The Pirates need to spend more money --- every fan has said that and complained about it.

But there has been one sorta, kinda surprise that emanated from LECOM Park in the past few days.

​Starling Marte has been kicked in the pants. Starling Marte has been called out. Starling Marte has been taken to task.

Good.

It is surprising and, most definitely, refreshing.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly spoke of last season's exit interviews, when Marte sat with the assembled powers-that-be and was told his effort wasn't, well, something that was acceptable.

Again, good.

"With Starling it was very clear, you can be and should be the best player on the field and we're talking our team, the other team, most time we play a baseball game," Coonelly said. "And we don't always see that, we need to see that virtually every game that you play." 

Those are heavy, heavy words from a big boss. And it is about time. There have been those brilliant flashes in Marte's career; but it has always been dotted with mental lapses, times he's gone into long funks and spans where Pirates fans don't necessarily see a full-bore effort.

Coonelly knows as much.

"So that was the word going out of the camp and coming back in we've seen a very motivated Starling Marte and I'm looking forward to him having a really big year this year because all the talent's there, all the tools are there, we've seen them, they've played out," he said. "Obviously he's a multi-time Gold Glove winner, the power's there, he can steal bases, hit home runs. He can do things on a baseball field that few people can do adn he's now the centerfielder so he's got those responsibilities to be the leader of our outfield. We're looking forward to Starling Marte being a big part of the success of the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates." 

He needs to be if this team is going to go anywhere.

Marte needs to be a big, big piece -- maybe the biggest piece.

And it starts and ends with effort. I'm just glad someone of power within the organization finally said it forcefully. Maybe the message will be received.

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