A formula to predict injuries? That's cool, for many, many reasons

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This is rather interesting for several reasons:

The ability to predict how players’ bodies will fare is a holy
grail. With an actuarial approach, [Dodgers’ trainer Stan] Conte seems
to have a head start in the pursuit. He is trying to build a formula
that will give teams a competitive advantage and help them avoid
players who spend their days in the training room and not on the field.

Interesting because, obviously, if there’s any merit to the research, it could revolutionize the game.

Interesting because Conte makes a big point that he’s coming up with
this formula “on his own time,” rather than during business hours,
which suggests to me that he’s going to try and make a buck off it
himself someday rather than have it be the intellectual property of the
Los Angeles Dodgers. As your attorney, Mr. Conte, I advise you not to
put any down payments on phat real estate yet, because the law has a
very different idea of what belongs to you and what belongs to your
employer in such situations.

Interesting because, if it works and benefits the Dodgers, it will
necessarily harm their division rival, the Giants. Why is that
interesting? Because Conte was the Giants’ trainer back in the Barry
Bonds years. Moreover, Conte was famously undercut by his boss Brian Sabean
when Conte went to him complaining about drug dealers hanging out in
the locker room back in 2000. Basically, he asked Sabean if it were OK
to kick Greg Anderson out of the locker room because he was a known
steroids dealer. Sabean didn’t object. But then Conte, no idiot, asked
Sabean if he’d have Conte’s back if Barry Bonds got angry about it and
tried to have him fired. According to the Mitchell Report, Sabean
basically told Conte that he was on his own if that happened. You don’t
have to be genius to see that Sabean’s baloney in this regard set up
Conte as a potential scapegoat in the event someone ever raised a
ruckus about the Giants’ tolerance of Anderson, Bonds and steroids (“I
told the trainer to do what was necessary. If he didn’t . . . “). It is
for trying to throw his own people under the bus, more than any dumb
trade he’s ever made, that everyone should loathe Brian Sabean, and it
is for that reason that I hope Conte’s little formula works and ends up
killing the Giants.

Finally, it’s interesting in that, no matter how good this ends up
being, it’s going to be of somewhat limited utility because of the
prevalence of sheer dumb chance and freak accidents.

Speaking of which, check out the kid on the far right of this picture
laughing at Ryan Dempster breaking his toe. I wonder if Conte can
figure out a formula that calculates the severity of the beatings he’ll
take from the kids at school once the pic starts circulating.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.