Comment of the Day: Sleeping Junior

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Flying Ken Griffey.jpgAfter over a year of working on this blog I thought I have pretty much figured out what to expect when it comes to certain subjects. Yankees-Red Sox stuff? Oh, so predictable.  Steroids threads? I can chart out how the comments are going to go with those like I was Hari Seldon with a TI-84 calculator.  The Phillies fan insecurity-fests are a much newer phenomenon, but I’m even starting to grok those pretty well too.

But I gotta tell ya, I’ve been rather surprised at how the comments in the Ken Griffey Jr. thread are going so far today.  If you would have asked me how I thought it would have gone before I posted it, I would have figured that about 95% of the comments would be of the “he needs to hang it up and give his job to someone who cares” variety, with a smattering of “he was so good once, sad to see him go” offerings.

Imagine my surprise when I was met with a great number of comments wondering if he had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition or otherwise trying to rationalize or explain away the fact that he was snoozing during a ballgame.  What happened to all of the “he’s paid top play a kids game!” comments?  Where is all the outrage we typically see when A-Rod does something less than godly?  Man, if A-Rod had fallen asleep in the clubhouse he’d probably need to be under police protection right now.

All of which brings us to our comment of the day.  It was really the most baffling — and hilarious — comment I’ve seen in some time.  Does it attack Griffey? No. Does it defend him? Not really.  Instead, it goes after the anonymous players who told the reporter about the incident itself: 

The entire generation born after 1980 are just a bunch of rat fink
ba—–s. I work kids that age….so i know…snitches.

Look, on some level I understand that being a generally likable guy for the past 20 years has bought Junior a lot more leeway than your average ballplayer, but I figured that at some point — and that point being simply unprepared to play the game of baseball on a given day — likability wouldn’t matter and people would at least go through the motions of tut-tutting Griffey over this.  Guess not.

And with that I’m getting out of the comment thread prediction business. Because you guys are way more unpredictable than I had given you credit for.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.