BRADENTON, Fla. -- The boos from the Canadian portion of the McKechnie Field record crowd of 8,439 kept getting louder every time Russell Martin came to bat against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
By Martin's third turn, his back was to a wall of noise. But the Pirates catcher, a target of venting ever since his decision to skip playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, got the last word after drilling a sharp single through the box off right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.
"I did point to the crowd. I was like, 'That was for you guys,'" said Martin, who was not surprised by the boos.
"I was expecting it," he said, presumably having heard a lot worse in the 2 1/2 weeks since asking off Canada's provisional roster. "But I've got something in my back pocket for down the road. We'll see what happens."
Whatever that mysterious action might be, Martin seemed quite tolerant of the reaction to his decision, secure in the belief it was the right one.
While you might recall he had cited an inability to play shortstop in the Classic as the reason for his withdrawal, it must be remembered that days later he came down with the sore throwing shoulder that would've made his participation impossible, anyway.
"I don't believe [fans of Canada] truly hate me. Maybe they're just a little emotional about the fact I didn't go," Martin said. "But I had my reasons -- and they weren't what everybody expected. My decision was a good one, because it made me feel good inside.
"I'm happy. I've been working with the [Pirates] pitchers, and my preparation is where it needs to be."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.