In the days after Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic, Royals players heard from friends and rivals all across the league.
But two of those messages perhaps stood out. The Royals received condolences from Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Baltimore’s Manny Machado, two All-Stars who butted heads with Ventura during on-field incidents in 2015 and 2016.
Trout, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, was involved in a stare-down with Ventura in April 2015, the benches clearing in Anaheim after Ventura escalated the situation. Ventura had appeared to take umbrage after Trout drilled a fastball up the middle. The situation boiled over when Trout crossed the plate.
Machado, meanwhile, charged the mound against Ventura after being hit by a pitch last June in Baltimore, inciting a brawl at Camden Yards. Both players were suspended after the incident.
But after the tragedy, Hosmer said, the incidents meant little.
“Both those guys reached out and made that sure we were all right,” Hosmer said.
Royals manager Ned Yost also spent much of the last month hearing from friends around baseball. On Monday, he said he was not surprised to hear that Trout and Machado had reached out, calling both players “pros.”
“It just says we’re all competitors and they understand the competitive nature of (baseball),” Yost said. “Everybody knows that this game is meant to be competed fiercely and hard. And our guys understand that. Mike Trout understands that. Because he competes just as hard. And so does Manny.
“It’s one of those things where you kind of lose your temper a little bit when it’s happening. But when it’s all said and done, it’s part of the game.”