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Mark Cuban has Bud Selig derangement syndrome

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Mark Cuban has tried to buy a major league team three times. He was probably squeezed out a couple of times. At least once — with the Rangers — he simply wasn’t willing to keep up with the bidding. Whatever the details are behind those efforts — and it’ll likely always be he-said, he-said — I don’t think it’s wrong to say that, to some degree, Mark Cuban got the shaft. A shaft that MLB could legally give him because of its ridiculous antitrust exemption, but the shaft all the same.

But at some point Cuban had to realize that if they don’t want him, he probably doesn’t want them either. You’d think he’d just wash his hands of baseball and its silliness when it comes to ownership matters. But that seems to not be the case. He’s still kind of mad! He went on the Dan Patrick show and the topic of Bud Selig came up:

“Was Bud Selig a bad commissioner?” Patrick asked.

“Horrible,” Cuban said. “Has the sport grown at all?”

Patrick said: “Regionally it has.”

Cuban continued: “The only growth it had was at the end of the ’90s and we know what happened there. He’s tried to act like a — I’ll tell you what really turned me off, other than the fact that he didn’t want me in. I had another owner who owned an NBA team walk up to me in an NBA meeting and say, ‘You have no chance. Don’t waste your time.’ What happened in the courtroom when I was looking at the Rangers and bankruptcy, it was ridiculous what they were trying to do. What’s worked for baseball, you know, other than steroids? And home run derbies because of it? You just can’t look at it and say this is a growth sport. You can’t say people enjoy it more.

Baseball revenue is up from $1.5 billion in 1995 to nearly $9 billion in 2013. Attendance has been at or near all-time highs for the past decade. Maybe one can measure baseball’s “growth” in ways other than revenue and attendance, but if you’re going to claim that Selig has been a horrible commissioner or that the sport has not grown at all, you had better come with some data, and not some generalized disdain for a guy who you don’t much like for personal reasons.

And they are personal reasons. Read the rest of Cuban’s comments about Selig. It’s all based on Cuban being mad about his experience with Selig and the idea that, according to Cuban, Selig reads everything written about him and thus Cuban wants to wind him up.

I don’t much care for the way MLB picks and chooses its owners. And I think baseball might’ve been a lot more fun with Mark Cuban as an owner than it has been without him. But you read this stuff and you can’t say that baseball’s keeping Cuban out is a very surprising.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.