Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning, was laid to rest yesterday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. This story from the Kansas City Star, who had reporters Vahe Gregorian and Maria Torres on the scene, is touching, evocative and above all sad.
The funeral took place on the field of the ballpark where he learned to play the game as a boy but was attended by the teammates with whom he scaled to baseball’s greatest heights, his manager Ned Yost and Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
Sal Perez gave the eulogy:
“He wasn’t just a teammate or a friend. He was a brother. We’ve known him since he started playing for Kansas City. His moments aside, he had a big heart. It’s incredibly sad what we’re going through right now . . . I regret the loss of our brother Ventura. Only God knows why he does these things. “I love you. And on behalf of the Kansas City Royals, I wish for all of you strength.”
Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz, sang at the ceremony.
Rest in peace, Yordano Ventura.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.