Robin Ventura is the White Sox’s manager now and not just an underrated former All-Star third baseman who once got put in a headlock and punched by Nolan Ryan, so the Rangers have decided to change their usual routine in the name of showing him more respect.
Instead of regularly playing the 1993 clip of Ventura charging the mound and getting beaten up by a 46-year-old Ryan–which they’ve shown on the ballpark jumbotron before nearly every game–the Rangers will not show the video during their opening-weekend series against the White Sox.
In fact, according to Rangers senior vice president for ballpark entertainment Chuck Morgan they may stop showing it altogether:
We may show it on the day it happened as part of the 40th anniversary moments, but that’s probably it. I just thought this offseason that we didn’t need to be showing that anymore. I watched how St. Louis treated Stan the Man during the playoffs and that’s how we should treat Nolan as the face of the franchise. We’ll celebrate his no-hitters and other moments.
I also don’t think it’s right for us on our Opening Day to show a fight, and then that whole weekend we’re going to treat Robin Ventura with respect. He’s the manager of the White Sox. We don’t need to do anything like that.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Ryan agreed with no longer showing the footage being a good idea, but didn’t force Morgan to make the change. And as you can see by the accompanying graphic, Ryan has previously been just fine with autographing pictures of him punching Ventura in the head.
Emotions are apparently high all around baseball, not just in Miami. In Toronto, the emotion was anger between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Josh Donaldson was hit by a Luis Severino 1-1, 97 MPH fastball with one out in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the second, J.A. Happ threw to fastballs back-to-back that were up and in to Chase Headley. The second one hit him. The Yankees, understandably, were not too happy about it, but order was quickly restored and play resumed with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor issuing warnings to both teams. The Yankees would finish the inning without scoring a run.
In the bottom of the second, Severino began the inning with two up and in fastballs at Justin Smoak. Both Severino and manager Joe Girardi were ejected and the benches emptied again, this time with more anger. There was some yelling as well as some pushing and shoving.
It doesn’t appear that Severino appeared to intentionally hit Donaldson, but he very clearly intended to retaliate against Smoak. Happ has issued retaliatory beanballs before in defense of Donaldson. He did so on April 23 against the Athletics. Donaldson hit a home run in the second inning and was hit by a Liam Hendriks pitch in the sixth. Khris Davis led off the next inning for the A’s and Happ hit him with a pitch. Plus, Happ’s two pitches to Headley were both up and in.
Severino and Happ are likely looking at fines. There’s a possibility of suspensions as well. Happ, however, was not ejected from the game.
As expected, the Marlins and Mets paid their respect to pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to the start of Monday night’s game at Marlins Park. It was emotionally charged and very tough to watch without becoming a sobbing mess.
The stadium was as quiet as a library even before the P.A. requested a moment of silence. The Marlins’ players rubbed the chalk line, just as Fernandez used to do. The starters — sans starting pitcher Adam Conley — rallied around the pitchers’ mound. The Mets’ players poured out onto the field and removed their caps as the National Anthem was played.
Once the anthem was completed, the stadium remained quiet. The Mets and Marlins formed lines and went through hugging each player. The fans began chanting, “Jose, Jose, Jose!”
The rest of the Marlins joined the starters and they wrapped around the edge of the dirt on the pitcher’s mound. Some of them drew in the dirt with their fingers. Others rubbed dirt on their pants. Then, they huddled and Giancarlo Stanton gave a motivational speech of sorts. The players came in close and they all put their index fingers in the middle, pointed up at the sky, and broke the huddle to begin the game.
There is crying in baseball.