Sunday was kind of weird day in the sports world, especially in Major League Baseball.
Aside from watching Matt Ryan completely rip the Green Bay Packers a new one, and Tom Brady doing Brady things – the sports world was shocked Sunday morning with the death of two Major League Baseball players (one a former player), both due to freak car accidents.
Kansas City Royal Yordano Ventura and once highly-rated prospect Andy Marte both were killed in accidents that could best be described as horrific. The photos alone will send a chill up your spine.
Ventura, nicknamed “Ace,” was simply one of the best young pitchers in the game. For Cardinals fans, he was almost a clone of Carlos Martinez: not overly built, a wicked fastball and a very “all-in” type of delivery/wind-up.
Marte, although not the same success as Ventura, made his own impact in Major League Baseball. He was signed as a 16-year old back in 2000 by the Atlanta Braves, appeared in the Futures Game twice, but never really amounted to any MLB success. Marte eventually landed in Korea, playing for the KT Wiz, and found moderate success after he hit for over .300 in two seasons.
Ventura and Marte are the two most recent devastating losses in Major League Baseball in the last couple of years.
What makes these player’s deaths so significant is the fact that in comes after former Cardinal Oscar Tavares perished in a car accident, and Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident.
While there is much to be determined about the accidents of Ventura and Marte’s deaths, both Oscar and Jose died at a high-rate of speed while driving.
In Fernandez’s case, it was determined he was both intoxicated and under the influence of cocaine upon his death.
So why bring these horrific accidents up?
Well while I was watching football Sunday, these fatalities made me think that there needs to be something done moving forward for young players in the Major League system.
We as a baseball world have lost four tremendous athletes way too soon, and three of which were on the verge of complete super-stardom.
I expect that Major League Baseball will look heavily into the recent string of off-season deaths of some of its young super stars.
And if it doesn’t, they’re dumber than I thought.
I am not sure if there should be more education provided to these young people, or if it should be handled on a team-by-team basis, but there must be an adjustment.
Too many players are clearly putting themselves in situations that are dangerous during the off-season.
Although Fernandez’s accident happened mid-season, it goes without saying that his behavior probably continued into the off-season.
I think what Major League Baseball, and pro sports in general, fails to realize sometime, is that most of these “athletes” are still kids.
Hell, in Major League Baseball, you don’t even have to go to college, and can get signed when you are a high school aged kid (internationally).
These young men know nothing but baseball their entire lives, and once they are given some money, power, and fame, everything turns upside down.
I am positive that these players aren’t the only ones doing these kinds of dangerous activities – and maybe if changes are made, we can keep the next accident from happening.
Major League Baseball needs to send a message.
The message is simple:
- There is no place for these kinds of acts in our game
- We are more than happy, and encourage you to seek help or counseling if you are considering, or participating in these kinds of activities.
- Your life is more important than the game.
This message makes sense for the league, for individual team owners, and the players association.
Clearly, whatever is in place now is NOT working.
I know at the end of the day, if a man wants to eat, he will go hunting – as the saying goes.
If he wants to drive that car 100 miles per hour, he will.
Every man has to make choices in his life, some will be good, some will be bad.
But not every man plays professional baseball, and that situation calls for some extra attention.
America’s Pastime needs it’s players to be safe, be smart, and ultimately, be great – both on and off the field.
Without any changes, Major League Baseball fails to do just that, and a result, so do we.
Thanks for reading.
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