I’m quite sure MLB would be in the business of punishing players accused of DUIs if the MLBPA didn’t stand in the way. But I hardly see how that would be for the best. When Shin-Soo Choo gets busted for driving drunk, that’s not a baseball matter. We have police departments, lawyers and court cases to deal Mr. Choo’s stupidity and reckless behavior. I don’t want Bud Selig putting himself into the middle of it. If Choo drove with a blood-alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit, my feeling is that he deserves some time behind bars and a lengthy license suspension. But I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to show up to work the next day and go about his business as usual while waiting for judgment.
And as a baseball fan, I don’t like the idea of my team being punished because of a player’s actions off the field. It’d surely hurt Choo to be suspended without pay for 10 days, but it’d probably hurt the Indians more, even working under the assumption that they’d be allowed to replace him on the roster (when players are suspended as a result of on-field actions, they can’t be replaced). Maybe a lesser suspension then? That would only serve to trivialize the charge. The NBA suspends drunk drivers for two games. Does anyone think that’s all a DUI deserves? A slap on the wrist for making the league look bad?
Some are complaining about how Choo will play a day after his charge while Ozzie Guillen gets two games off for tweeting after an ejection. It’s easy: one’s a baseball issue, one isn’t. Maybe MLB will eventually gain the right to dole out punishment for DUIs, but I’d much rather see them focusing on on-field issues than trying to dispense justice for incidents taking place away from the ballpark.
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.