Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks

Jim Edmonds criticizes Reds’ doctors, Brandon Phillips

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First, a little backstory here.

Jim Edmonds signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals in February, but was forced to retire weeks later due to a nagging right Achilles injury. It was an injury he dealt with prior to accepting a trade to the Reds last August, but he didn’t have another at-bat after September 21.

OK, now that you’re all caught up, check this out. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, during a radio interview with KFNS in St. Louis that aired Thursday, Edmonds criticized the Reds for the way the injury was handled.

“It’s still awful. I still can’t do the things I want to do,” Edmonds said. “I’m really frustrated. I don’t know the right words to use towards the Cincinnati doctors. I’m in a situation now where I thought I’d never be in. I went so far in my career without really having a huge injury and had a bunch of surgeries. I thought ‘Gosh, I’m going to be able to get out of this with my health, my kids will be happy and I’m hoping to be able to walk out of this.’ Now I can’t walk and chase my kids around. Surgery is the option right now. That would be a year rehab. I’m not looking forward to that.

“The worst thing I did was accept that trade for [Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty. I should have shut it down and went home. I would be healthy right now and probably playing.”

Ouch. Edmonds also had some choice words for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was front and center in the infamous benches-clearing brawl with the Cardinals last September. The brawl occurred just one day after Edmonds was acquired from the Brewers.

“Other than that one situation with that one player, they’re a young, talented, nice group of guys,” Edmonds said, referring to Phillips. “I think that one incident was very unfortunate and it put a black eye on the rest of the rivalry. … He says he wouldn’t take it back, but hopefully he learned from that and realizes that he was overboard there and causing another distraction that especially the Reds didn’t need.”

Meanwhile, Phillips took to his Twitter feed to respond yesterday, saying the following:

LOL. Awww! That’s so sweet! Trust me, there are so many things I can say about him [and] y’all would look at him different! “HATER IN DA HOUSE”

We’ll probably never know if Edmonds has a legitimate gripe with the Reds doctors — remember, this is a 40-year-old we’re not talking about, not someone who is 25 — but it’s safe to say that the rivalry between the Reds and Cardinals just got a little more juice. As if it needed it.

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.