I went to a Columbus Clippers game last Saturday. My seats were choice: first row, right at the dugout. The best part: being so close to the action and being just beyond the screen meant that I was in mortal fear of having my head taken off by a foul ball all game which, in turn, required me to pay total attention to every pitch. Can’t remember the last time I was so engaged at a ballgame!
Worst part: that part of the park attracted a bunch of ball hawk kids, constantly leaning over the rail begging people in the dugout for balls. One kid even yelled at Andy LaRoche, asking for his bat. This right after LaRoche hit a home run. I said to the kid “what makes you think he wants to give up a bat he just hit a homer with?” The kid said “why should he care?” Oy. The sense of entitlement among today’s whippersnappers!
But sometimes that souvenir lust can go beyond annoying. It can actually impact the game itself:
With two on and two outs in the seventh inning, Philadelphia third baseman Mike Fontenot tracked a soft popup near the seats in foul territory to get the Phillies out of the inning.
Just as he was reaching up to make the catch, a young kid’s glove came over the top and snatched it away. Fontenot looked over and the youngster was wearing a Phillies cap and shirt. Minnesota’s Ben Revere followed with an RBI single, proving that these hard-luck Phillies just can’t catch a break.
I am informed by numerous previous comment threads that I am not to call this kid out, however. He is merely passionate. Or something.
(thanks to Kopy for the heads up)
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.