There are a lot of people upset about neither Fox nor Major League Baseball doing anything during the All-Star Game last night to honor Tony Gwynn. For what it’s worth, Fox is saying that they did too honor him. In the form of a video that, apparently, aired during pregame programming on Fox Sports 1:
I say “apparently,” because I’ve tried five times to get the video linked there to work and I can’t, but I’ll take their word for it. One reader says that he saw it and that it was a good piece featuring Ken Rosenthal interviews and such.
Not that this is going to make the people who are mad about this very happy. I presume the response will be that it didn’t air during the game and that it didn’t air on Fox, but on Fox’s cable channel which isn’t widely viewed.
Personally I think the outrage over this is a bit much. Obviously a well-done tribute to Gwynn would’ve been welcome, but I hardly see it as a capital crime that one did not take place during the game. There are major figures in baseball who die every year. Some do get honored during All-Star or World Series broadcasts. Some don’t. I don’t recall baseball making a point to run video montages and things like the Oscars do. And it’s probably worth noting that the Oscars frequently get criticized for missing someone here or there.
At bottom, I don’t think it’s fair to say Major League Baseball has somehow snubbed Gywnn’s death. When it happened there was all manner of nice gestures both by the league, its teams, broadcasters and almost anyone else you can imagine. If your thoughts about last night are “it would’ve been nice to see something,” that’s fine. But if you’re suggesting that Fox or MLB is somehow “disrespecting” Gwynn here, or that they owe apologies and the like, I think you’re overstating things.
This is especially true if you’re one of those people whose default mode is to think everything Fox and MLB do is somehow ill-conceived and mock-worthy. In that case, would you really want them to do something, or are you just firing complaints at big, common targets?
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.
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.