Even as winter looms, Joe Martinson is preparing for spring baseball.
“I love the position that I’m in, that every single pitch matters every time,” said the Minnetonka High School pitcher. “There is so much pressure on you to execute every time or it could cost the game.”
Martinson is a Twins fan, but his favorite player is Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander.
This summer, Martinson traveled to the Dominican Republic with his Legion baseball team. “It was amazing― white beaches, blue water and friendly people,” he said.
Martinson was able to use the Spanish skills he learned at Minnetonka. “I was a little rusty,” said the senior.
Martinson plans to share his enthusiasm for baseball by coaching kids in the West Metro Miracle League, a baseball league for physically and mentally handicapped persons. “I’ll coach and play with the kids,” he said.
Martinson’s other favorite sport is football.
“I love the brotherhood of football,” said Martinson, a receiver and tight end for the Skippers. “Relying on other people to get a common goal really brings me closer to my teammates.”
Martinson has been playing football since he was 10. Over the years, a pre-game ritual developed. “I have to eat a Snickers bar and put my right shoe on first, every time,” he said.
A self-described “quiet and laid back guy,” Martinson admits he can get “passionate and fiery” when opponents talk trash. “It makes me want to dominate them even more,” he said.
Playing multiple sports, Martinson has managed to avoid serious injury although he has had a concussion, a broken elbow and thumb, and a few “sprains and strains.”
Martinson has learned to balance sports with school work. “You have a priority as a student athlete to get your school work done or you don’t play,” said the honor student. “It’s that simple.”
His advice to freshmen? “Don’t slack. Keep your studies up, and you won’t have to worry too much as a junior or senior.”
His favorite class is AP Calculus. “I love Mrs. Hersman,” said Martinson, who has known the teacher since kindergarten. “She is the nicest lady I know.”
Martinson is also inspired by his grandfather. “Grandpa Bud doesn’t really say much, or say things you want to hear, but it is for your own good to listen to what he has to say,” said Martinson. “He usually is right. It’s sometimes annoying how many times he is right.”
Martinson’s mother raised her children to “be like an M&M.”
“Hard outside and soft inside,” he explained. “Be tough and resilient on the outside, but be caring on the inside.”
The Martinson family includes parents Brett and Lynn, younger sister Abby, and three dogs.
The family will gather at his grandmother’s house this Thanksgiving, where Martinson will partake in the annual eating contest between the cousins.
“I am thankful for my family more than anything,” he said. “We may be a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. They are my motivation.”
In his free time, Martinson enjoys rap music (Tyga is a favorite) and movies (he recommends The Dark Knight Rises). “I like movies with a villain that is reckless and creates chaos,” he said.
Like many seniors, Martinson is focused on the college application process.
“I have zero interest in small schools,” said Martinson. “Big schools are on my mind.” He is applying to the University of Minnesota, University of Kansas and Indiana University.
Martinson plans to combine his interest in business and Spanish by majoring in international business. “I’d like to stay in the U.S., but if the situation presents itself, I could see myself living abroad,” he said.
Wherever he goes to school, he will most likely return for the Minnesota State Fair. “I love the root beer and Vescio’s Italian food,” he said.
This fall Martinson will cast his first vote in a presidential election.
“I feel kind of excited to express my opinions though my vote,” he said. “I hope that education is reformed a bit and maybe tuition lowered for college. That would sure help.”