5.) Yordano Ventura’s Void
The death of Yordano Ventura was the elephant in the room all season. Nobody wanted to mention it, but everyone seemed to silently acknowledge the impact it had on the Kansas City Royals in 2017.
The January death of Ace didn’t just leave a hole at the top of the starting rotation, it left a hole in the clubhouse. His personality—even more so than his electric arm—is what made him a player that teammates wanted to be around. It’s a void that nothing and no one could possibly fill, especially not this quickly.
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If you don’t think Ventura’s absence had a palpable impact on what the Kansas City Royals accomplished in 2017, there’s probably not much I can say to convince you otherwise. Maybe you find it pointless to even bring him up. But the death of a teammate is something that every player who knew Ventura dealt with this season.
The players never made excuses, but it would be ignorant to believe he didn’t cross their minds almost every single day.
The impact Ventura could have made on the inconsistent pitching staff is not hard to see. Erratic at times, he could have easily won 15 games with a 3.75 ERA. It’s not a stretch to say he could have been the difference in making the postseason or not.
But, in the grand scheme of things, none of that really matters. We will always have the memories and be eternally grateful for the time Ace spent in Kansas City.
At the end of the day, baseball is just a game. So while it would have been nice for the Kansas City Royals to make the playoffs, time marches on towards 2018 and a new opportunity.