By Brett LaBore
We all have passions in life. There are things that drive us as humans and make us smile each and every day. But what if that included the loss of a loved one? Things would change dramatically.
On Sunday, Jan. 22, Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was found dead after a car accident in his home country, the Dominican Republic. He was just 25 years old. Another Dominican and ex-major leaguer Andy Marte also died the same day.
This was a sad day for everyone who loved baseball. Ventura was one of the best flame-throwers in baseball and helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series in 2015. He had style and he could flat out pitch.
What’s even more difficult is the fact that this comes on the heels of another sad death with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez last September.
As unfortunate as it is with these two deaths, they both bring up an important question. Is there more to sports than just winning and losing? What value is there?
Everyone gets so caught up in the moment and that it’s all about winning championships and the like. While that may be true, there is also another side. There are real people, families and friendships that play and revolve around the game.
When great pitcher and even greater person Fernandez died, the baseball world stopped for a second. They didn’t really focus that much on the games itself, but sought to honor him in every way possible. The whole Miami Marlins team rallied around this sad moment and still played a baseball game.
When the Marlins came up to bat, it was time for second baseman Dee Gordon to hit. He doesn’t hit homeruns very much, but when he got up to bat he hit what he claims is the farthest home run he ever hit. He cried as he marched around the bases.
There was something more than just a game going on. They were all playing for the person they loved. They did it in his honor because they all loved him and missed him.
A similar story will most likely happen with Ventura. He will be honored and it will more than just winning and losing.
The world stopped when there were terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Sports were halted for a moment, but later were resumed. When they finally resumed in New York, a game was played between the Braves and the Mets. Mets catcher Mike Piazza came to the plate and hit a homerun that would give the Mets a lead in the game.
It was more than just a homerun, but something that lifted a city up. It gave people hope. Sports gave people hope in that it was a way of getting things back to normal. Baseball is one of America’s past times. The fact that a game was played ten days after the attacks was a way of moving on for America.
Sports are life for people. But there are times when it’s more than just a game. Sometimes we play and fight for one another. Sports is one of the rare things that can bring people together.
Yordano Ventura was a fine pitcher who had great character and loved the game. Though he will be missed, it’s another example of sports going beyond a scoreboard.