Image of Dodger Stadium beating victim Stow is shown on scoreboard before MLB National League baseball game between San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco, California

Jury selection begins in Bryan Stow’s civil case against the Dodgers

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Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day 2011. His criminal assailants are now in jail, but the matter is not totally closed. Stow has a civil case pending against the Dodgers which accuses the team and former owner Frank McCourt of not providing sufficient security that day. Jury selection began in that case yesterday. Stow was there for it, but he has suffered brain damage and will not testify.

The jury questionnaire asks potential jurors about their experience with or knowledge of traumatic brain injury and caring for people who are disabled for life, as Stow is. It asks about fistfights at a sporting events and their experience with stadium or arena security. It also asks something else:

”What is your opinion if any of Frank McCourt?” they were asked, referring to the unpopular Dodgers owner who sold the team under duress. They were asked how many times they have been to Dodgers or Giants games and whether they ever had a negative experience at Dodger Stadium.

Given that he’s a defendant who had all kinds of bad press in the couple of years before and after Stow’s beating, it’s probably pretty relevant.

Ultimately the case will be about whether there was sufficient security that day. The Dodgers and McCourt have long said that they had their biggest security detail ever for that game. Maybe so, but that is beside the point if, in the opinion of the jurors, that was still not reasonable.

Stow will need medical care, assistance and rehabilitation for life. It could cost him and/or his insurers upwards of $50 million.

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.