Jenny Stone

Shannon Stone’s wife issues statement of thanks

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Jenny Stone, the wife of firefighter Shannon Stone, issued a statement of thanks Tuesday in the Brownwood Bulletin, showing appreciation for all of those, including the Rangers, who have helped in a time of need.

It reads:

Monday we said goodbye to a wonderful man. Shannon was truly a great husband, father, son, brother, uncle, firefighter, and friend. While we have been overwhelmed with sadness by his death, we have also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and sympathy that we have received, from complete strangers as far away as New Zealand, to the former president of the United States of America, to our closest friends and family. While we will never forget that horrible night, we also will never forget the gentleman from Hawley, Texas, who protected Cooper that evening and came to pay his respects on Sunday. We will never forget the new friend Shannon, Cooper and I had just made on our recent camping trip to Destin, Florida, who traveled from Louisiana to pay his respects. We will never forget all the firefighters and policemen and women and hospital staff who were there that night. We are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of love from Shannon’s brother firefighters, the City of Brownwood, First United Methodist Church, Texas Motor Speedway, firefighters from all over Texas, and from everyone in our community who brought food, stopped by, stood on the roadside and blessed us with prayers. And, of course, we have been supported and held up by our family and friends, who have stayed by our side for the last four days. Thank you is not enough, but we are truly thankful.

We are also thankful for Nolan Ryan, Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers, the Rangers fans, and all baseball fans, which have showed such concern and compassion. While I was certainly surprised to hear Nolan Ryan on my phone on Friday morning, I was not surprised that he would act just like we all see him, as a true Texas gentleman. Josh Hamilton remains Cooper’s favorite baseball player, the Texas Rangers will always be our team, and baseball will always be our favorite game.

Again, we are so very thankful, appreciative, and overwhelmed by all of the support we have received. Shannon loved going to watch the Rangers and he loved Cooper. And, at the very end, he lived life to its fullest, doing something he loved.

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.