Coping With the Loss
Kansas City Royals fans had watched Yordano grow up. We rooted for him when he broke onto the big league scene and won 14 games in his first full season while sporting a 3.20 ERA. We cheered as he pitched seven shutout innings in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series in tribute to his late friend, Oscar Taveras. And we chuckled in disbelief every time the radar gun read 100 or higher. We, of course, defended him while he struggled to maintain his composure when an opponent would attempt to get in his head.
He was a 16-year-old kid when he put pen to paper to officially play baseball in the United States. Ventura had previously dropped out of school to help support his family, so the $28,000 signing bonus was unforeseen territory for him and his family. I will never blame Yordano, a kid who had the deck of life stacked entirely against him, for taking it personally when a kid born and raised in the United States, who never had the same legitimate worries, would mouth off to him. He was a true competitor in every aspect of life, and for that, he should be admired.
For the most part, none of us really knew how to react to the news of his death. We mourned, remembered, celebrated his life and, of course, cried. There were multiple gatherings at Kauffman Stadium throughout the day, and the players who were present said that they didn’t know where else to go. It was certainly a tragedy, and one we will not soon forget.
Our heartstrings have been constantly tugged at ever since, but the most emotional time came only two days later, during his services. His brothers traveled to the city Las Terrenas to pay their respects. Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Greg Holland and Jarrod Dyson all helped to carry Ventura’s casket and spoke, cried and prayed over him. Ned Yost and Dayton Moore comforted distraught loved ones. This team felt like one big family once again, but this time, for one of the most regrettable reasons possible.
Yordano Ventura’s competitive fire, warm and outgoing personality, and electric right arm will never be forgotten or replaced.