Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were given a bunch of gifts before last night’s game. Cool stuff, too! For example, check out what Rivera got:
Rivera was given the bullpen bench from the old Yankee Stadium and the Citi Field pitching rubber from the night he earned save No. 500 against the New York Mets across town.
Nice! I hope to God that no one told the Mets.
Jeter scored pretty well too. Among other things, he was given that sign from the old Yankee Stadium clubhouse with the famous Joe DiMaggio quote: “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.” Wait a minute, my B.S. detector is going off! Quick! To the time machine! Set the dial for last January!
Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected . . . A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.
He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”
Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.
So Captain Jetes: were you lying to the New York Times, saying you stole the DiMaggio sign in an effort to make yourself look like a Yankee-history-lovin’ bad boy, or did you actually steal the sign, give it back to the Yankees, and then allow them to “award” you with it in last night’s ceremony? It has to be one of those two, right?
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.