Ted Williams

A message from Ted Williams

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Hi, I’m Ted Williams, The Greatest Hitter who Ever Lived.

My time is brief — I’m here thanks to a passing chrono-synclastic infundibulum and it’s gonna take me back to Baseball Valhalla soon– but I had somethin’ I wanted to talk to you all about before I go.

I know a lot of you are concerned right now that this Miguel Cabrera fella may win the Triple Crown and still not win the MVP Award. You’re worried that all of those kids with the calculators and the fancy statistics are gonna make the case for this Mike Trout kid.  Boy, howdy, that will be an unpleasant few weeks of arguin’. Everyone talkin’ about “WAR” and whatnot. Let me tell you something, I fought in two wars and if I never hear the term again, it won’t be too soon.

But let me let you in on a little secret: I won the triple crown twice: in 1942 and again in 1947. And you know what happened? Yessir, I lost the MVP award. Both times. The first time to some second baseman who led the league in strikeouts. I bet that even though that guy is also in the Hall of Fame, most of you couldn’t even come up with his name without checkin’ first. Go ahead, give it a try. Ha ha, I knew it.

The second time I won the triple crown I lost it to a fella you have heard of: Joe DiMaggio. Now, don’t get me wrong, Joe was a helluva player. But go take a look, my friends: he didn’t lead the American League in any significant statistical category in 1947. Heck, I had over one hundred points on him in on-base percentage. He had a lot of good teammates that year, no question, and his boys won the World Series like they always did, but that may have been his seventh best season in a thirteen year career.

Not that old Ted gettin’ overlooked was anything new. 1941 was a humdinger of a year. I hit over .400! No one has done it since. That’s over 70 years now, and only a couple of fellas have even sniffed at it. And it wasn’t empty average, either: I led the league in slugging percentage, on-base percentage (.553, my friends), batting average, runs, walks and home runs.  And guess what? That’s right, old Joe won that MVP award. All because he had a 56-game hitting streak. And heck, I even had a better average during his hitting streak than he did!  You can look it up.

But I’m not tellin’ you all of this to get your sympathy. I don’t need it. My legacy is secure. No one thinks less of me as a ballplayer. And Ted here is comfortable in his own skin. Probably more comfortable than old Joe is. No, I’m tellin’ you this because I want you to know that, from what I can tell about this Cabrera fella, he’s gonna be alright if you don’t give him the MVP. Probably more than alright. And if I’m bein’ honest, I don’t think he should win it anyway, triple crown or no.

I’m no math whiz, but I can tell that this Trout kid has had a better year than Cabrera. He’s not been the hitter that Cabrera has been. Close, sure, but not quite. But the thing about that MVP Award is that you have to look at both offense and defense. And when it comes to defense Cabrera can’t hold a candle to the kid. The kid is a fantastic center fielder. Cabrera is a bad third baseman. If you need to look at some numbers to tell you that, well, you’re beyond helping. Same goes for his base running, too, and that matters a whole lot.

I bet Cabrera knows all this.  And what’s he gonna do, complain about it? When he knows that Old Ted was jobbed way worse than he ever could be?

Oh well, it looks like it’s time for me to be goin’. But I’m glad we had this talk.  Think about it a little. And when everyone starts to fussin’ and fightin’ over the MVP award, ask yourself: will the world really end if a triple crown winner doesn’t get it?  I think you coulda figured that out even if I hadn’t talked to you today.

Bye, friends.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.