Everyone went all out for Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary on Friday. But if there was any justice in the world there would have been two grand old parks celebrating their centennials. Because Tiger Stadium would have turned 100 that day too.
Yes, I realize that I am nearly 15 years too late to cry about this, but I still cry. Tiger Stadium was where I discovered baseball, dammit, and where I fell in love with it. And I realize that my case is unique in that, because of a connected relative, I always had decent seats and didn’t have to deal with obstructed views and overhangs. I’m also totally aware of how the time and place in which Tiger Stadium fell into disrepair made it impossible that it would ever get a Fenway-style rehab done. The ship sailed, I realize. It sailed long ago. And everyone tells me that Comerica Park is nice (I’m going there for the first time this summer).
Still, I’m a little agitated to know that, as Fenway stood festooned with banners and flags and bore witness to legends of the past walking on that field on Friday afternoon, the place where Tiger Stadium used to be stood empty and mostly neglected and, one day, will be nearly forgotten.
Chris Jaffe wrote a nice piece about Tiger Stadium this morning over at The Hardball Times. Give it a read and then pour one out for the great old place that used to stand at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
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.