Before the first pitch of the Cactus League opener at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, the Royals and Rangers paid tribute to Yordano Ventura, who died last month after a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.
The Royals lined up on the third base line, the Rangers along the first base line. Adrian Beltre and Carlos Gomez of the Rangers, fellow Dominicans, placed a bouquet of flowers on the mound.
Highlights from Ventura’s three plus major league seasons then played on the stadium’s video board, and the flags at the stadium flew at half staff.
A Surprise city official presented a tribute plaque to Royals manager Ned Yost. It will hang in Surprise Stadium along with other plaques that are dedicated to Royals’ players and the 2014 American League championship and 2015 World Series title teams.
The plaque in part reads: “On most days he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire which he brought to the mound every start.”