ESPN’s Amanda Rykoff went down to Citizens Bank Park last week to check out the “Baseball 101” program the Phillies have put on for female fans the past several years. As she reports, it’s kind of a misnomer, because the program is not about educating allegedly uninitiated women about the basics of baseball. No, it’s much cooler and respectful of their phanatical phans:
This day is an opportunity for the passionate, knowledgeable female fans who make up nearly half of the Phillies’ fan base to experience an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the team they follow so loyally, with some female bonding and a lot of fun along the way. There are no rudimentary explanations of balls and strikes, double plays or RBI. Not a single pink hat or T-shirt was spotted among the 147 participants.
These women know their WHIP and their OPS. And they love the game of baseball as much as they love their team.
Baserunning clinics put on by Juan Samuel. Bullpen sessions with Rich Dubee. Very cool stuff that I’m guessing most of us, male or female, would love to do if given the opportunity.
Good reading. Check it out.
UPDATE: Chris F.’s first comment made me ashamed of myself. I’m sorry I failed everyone by not baiting Phillies fans here. Let me make amends: I do have one question about the Baseball 101 program, however: who do they have teaching the clinic about irrationally thinking that Ryan Howard is an MVP-caliber hitter? That has to be part of the bill, right?
Ahhhhh. That’s better.
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.