Ben Kabak of River Avenue Blues has a good review of the new Ian O’Connor book about Derek Jeter. Which I haven’t read and I don’t really plan to, on the basis that no really good biography can be written about someone whose story is not complete. Which is basically where Ben comes down too.
As I said in an interview a couple of years ago, the Derek Jeter book I want to read is a salacious tell-all book of interviews of Derek Jeter’s doormen, personal assistants, maids, butlers, valets, neighbors, and pharmacists over the past 15 years. And sure, I want it to be fair and accurate too — we’re not savages here — but I do think that when it comes to major figures like Jeter, you’re not going to get the full story from someone who still needs to maintain access to the Yankees as a featured columnist for ESPN New York.
Which is not, by the way, a slam on O’Connor. I think Ben is fair with his review about the good points and the bad points about O’Connor’s book, and the good points do sound good. It’s merely an observation about the inherent difficulty of covering a current player from the inside like O’Connor is trying to do. Lips get looser as time goes on. Publicists and handlers become fewer and farther between. In other words, the stuff people really want to know becomes much more easy to come by after the figure has left the limelight.
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.