I’m not singling Danny Knobler out here as he’s merely reflecting MLB’s thinking and, frankly, the thinking of most people I’ve talked to. But it is pretty telling about our collective sense of justice:
No sense that due process is actually something that’s pretty cool and ignoring it would be reckless and wrong for its own sake. Merely that it would be a tactical mistake. “Being seen” as following due process is important. Due process itself? Eh, whatever.
This sense developed over the weekend that Major League Baseball had backed down or that Alex Rodriguez gained some tactical advantage in this big waltz. I’m not really sure about that. A-Rod is still gonna get hammered. He’ll get to play a bit before then, but he’s still going to be hit hard. The only reason we have that sense, I think, is because baseball and/or its surrogates overplayed their rhetorical hand for so long, talking as if suspending A-Rod under the CBA rather than the drug rules and thereby denying him appeal rights was somehow reasonable when it never was at all.
Oh well. My long-ago observation still holds: no one really cares about due process until process is due to them.
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.