On Tuesday night in Baltimore, Yordano Ventura reestablished himself as one of the more hated players in baseball by hitting Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, causing Machado to charge the mound in a bench-clearing brawl.
Yordano Ventura still insists it was an errant pitch.
Ventura on possible suspension: "I don’t think that should be in order. My plan was to pitch inside and one got away. And things happened."— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) June 8, 2016
Ned Yost concedes there is frustration with Yordano.
Does Ned Yost sense frustration from players over Ventura incidents? "Probably. There’s a little frustration when things like this happen."— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 8, 2016
Orioles manager Buck Showalter seems to take a shot at Yost.
Buck says "someone must condone" Ventura's behavior because it keeps happening; worried about tomorrow? "Bring it on," he says #orioles— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) June 8, 2016
Orioles outfielder Adam Jones had some strong opinions.
Adam Jones on Ventura: "You see the reaction by his players. They weren’t too happy that he did something so stupid." #Royals— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) June 8, 2016
Former players chimed in.
So who get hit for the Royals in retaliation? I'm guessing LoCain after he robbed that HR is the target. Let's hope he doesn't get injured.— Elliot Johnson (@ElliotJohnson9) June 8, 2016
Buster Olney of ESPN says the practice of pitchers intentionally beaning hitters has to stop.
What, exactly, does anyone expect Machado to do or any other hitter to do in response to an attack with a baseball? Would they expect a catcher to stand like a crash-test dummy and let himself get run over? Would a natural human response for a middle infielder be to allow a baserunner to barrel roll into his legs?
Longtime managers will talk about the importance of retaliation pitches to maintain the equilibrium of the competition. If a pitcher on the other team accidentally hits your batters repeatedly, there must be an answer, to ensure that the mistakes don't continue to happen. But what Ventura appeared to do Tuesday is something very different. He seemed to be angry about their prior exchanges, and he used the baseball to retaliate for Machado's words and body language.
Sam Mellinger says Yordano needs to grow up.
The Royals were good enough to lap the American League Central and win the World Series last year with Ventura mostly in the background. He exists in a very different context now. The Royals need him now. They need him to grow up, now. Ventura needs the same thing. Not to save his career, because he’s on a long-term contract and there is always a market for talent. But to save his reputation, to fulfill his enormous potential, and to avoid wasting his considerable ability.
Jeff Passan reports the Royals have considered trading Yordano Ventura.
Recently, inside the Kansas City Royals’ clubhouse, Yordano Ventura was talking about how he planned on hitting Jose Bautista with a pitch the next time he faced him. The people around Ventura rolled their eyes, tired of the bluster, done with the immaturity, hopeful he was playing fugazi instead of the on-field arsonist they’d seen too many times for their liking. Among his teammates and in the Royals’ front office alike, they’ve long waited for Ventura to grow up, only to end up amazed at how he manages to plumb beneath even his own low standards.....
Yes, sources said, the Royals have broached other teams’ interest in Ventura, who because he still can throw a baseball 99 mph isn’t yet the sort of dead money only John Oliver would buy. After tonight, though, his ERA is 5.32, his strikeout rate 92nd of 107 qualified starters, his walk rate 105th of 107. And this with a guaranteed three years and $21.25 million left on his contract.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wants MLB to throw the book at Ventura.
My suggestion? Suspend him for a month. A 30 game suspension will cause him to miss six starts and will take roughly $150,000 out of his paycheck, and would send the message that the penalties are only going to get more harsh if he continues to believe it appropriate to use his fastball as a weapon. Ventura is a habitual offender at this point, and should be treated accordingly. The only way he’s going to stop starting fights is if baseball convinces him they’re serious about stopping him.
Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports says this is nothing new for Yordano.
Throw a no-hitter on L.S.D. like Dock Ellis or dominate your opposition like Pedro Martinez and people will give you more leeway to start doing the do like those guys did. Do that stuff while you’re underachieving on a team in the middle of a six-game losing streak and you’re just a pain in the butt.
Barry Petchesky at Deadspin was thrilled to see Ventura get attacked.
I can’t recall a player or a team being so unrepentant—so proud—of a bench-clearing brawl as Manny Machado and the Orioles were of Machado charging the mound and delivering a haymaker/DDT combo. But then, I can’t recall a player that so many around baseball have wanted to see take a punch to the face more than Yordano Ventura.
Ventura—baseball’s surliest little shit—is a small man with a hard fastball and a big mouth and a propensity for finding himself either at the bottom of or scurrying away from a pile of shoving baseball players. In Manny Machado, a guy with his own knack for starting shit, Ventura picked the wrong guy to plunk.
Others chimed in.
"It's hard to blame Manny Machado for going after [Yordano Ventura] after he gets hit that hard, at 99 MPH." - Tim Kurkjian on BBTN— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) June 8, 2016
Yordano Ventura needs to pitch better. And he needs to stop with the extracurriculars. Enough.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 8, 2016
Selfish. RT @theblakemc: What Ventura did was...— kevin kietzman (@kkwhb) June 8, 2016
I get the feel the guys aren't happy with Yo. And shouldn't be. His antics combined w bad pitching seem to be wearing thin #royals— Bob Fescoe (@bobfescoe) June 8, 2016
I thought Yordano Ventura was past this. I was very wrong. What a joke.— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) June 8, 2016
MLB needs to show they're serious here. Sentence Machado and Ventura to 8 games with the Braves.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) June 8, 2016