There is a good bit of acrimony between the Cardinals and the Brewers. Brewers fans think Albert Pujols and that whole operation in St. Louis is lousy, two-faced and low-rent (adjectives which actually filled my inbox from Brewers fans in recent weeks). The Cardinals think much the same about the Brewers. Or at least Nyjer Morgan. And you know that La Russa doesn’t do much to diminish any “us-against-the-world” feelings that simmer in the minds of his players.
It appeared yesterday that a new front had opened in that little war, with the Brewers accusing the Cardinals of jerking around their family and friends with respect to seating in Busch Stadium. It seems the Phillies families had all been located behind home plate in the NLDS, but the Brewers families were seated in multiple places around the park, causing some degree of consternation among the Brewers.
As of last night everyone in an official capacity was claiming that it was all a misunderstanding. The Cardinals explained that the Brewers families were in multiple suites, which was exactly what had been done for the Dodgers in the 2009 playoffs and the Padres and Tigers in 2006. Brewers traveling secretary Dan Larrea said “[t]here was some concern initially among the players about the situation, but it worked out.”
I suppose there will still be some beefing about this from Brewers fans who I have learned in recent weeks are really awesome at holding grudges. In this case, however, a grudge seems inappropriate. And really, given Mark Kotsay in center field, it was not even the most significant instance of someone connected to the Brewers being in a poor location yesterday.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.