A Sad Reminder that Sports is Just a Business

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Allow me if you will to do what I almost always do; deviate from our regularly scheduled programming. For the moment I’d like to cast our gaze Northeast across the Truman Sports Complex to Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. Its been two years since the tragic death of the controversial young Royals star pitcher Yordano “Ace” Ventura, and the affairs of his estate are just as volatile and toxic as his trouble life was reported to be behind closed doors. The Kansas City Star recently reported on turbulence left behind in the wake of Ventura’s passing.

Two years after Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a single-car crash in his native Dominican Republic, the $20.25 million remaining on his contract has not been paid. And his estate is broke. Ventura’s 5-year-old daughter is listed as the sole heir of his estate, according to court documents. As the executor of the estate, her mother has hired attorneys to pursue the money left on the contract. The matter is currently being negotiated between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, a grievance process that is kept confidential, multiple sources told The Star.

Its a stark reminder that at the end of the day, our favorite players for our favorite teams are in a business relationship with each other, and while not always the case, personal sentiments are often the sole assumptions of we as fans. All too often I hear a player should take less money to stay with the team that developed him or take a pay cut to stay, but the reality is they are human beings like everyone else, and ultimately must choose to do what is in the best interest for them and their family’s. Typically that comes in the form of doing what will pay them the most for their services rendered in the shortest amount of time, even if that means refusing to re-structure and risk being cut or sitting out a season if the belief is there that the next contract will maximize their earning potential.

This mindset has been promoted throughout time by owners always looking out for their bottom dollar, forcing players to employ the “strike while the irons hot” strategy when it comes to getting paid. Even in baseball, where the contracts are fully guaranteed, owners scour the books looking for an opportunity to not fulfill their obligation to the player and will continue to do so as long as we as fans devote our loyalty to the name on the front of the jersey instead of the one on the back.

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I realized the brutality of the workforce when a colleague of mine, a teacher for 35 years, died in a bicycle accident last summer. While we mourned his death it was made clear to us that while his memory would live on his position was quickly filled and after a moment of silence, it was business as usual. It’s a sad reality that we’re all just cogs in the machine, when a “cog” retires or dies the machine rolls on by replacing the old cog with a new one.


Well, it’s tough. On the one hand, you want to take care of the child. But on the other hand, that money was intended for Ventura in return for services which, through his own deliberate actions as opposed to illness or on-the-job injury or act of God, he will be unable to perform.

If I was an appointed, unelected judge and could do any damned thing I wanted, I’d probably have the Royals pay a percentage of the unpaid salary into some kind of trust to provide for only the child’s education and the widow’s and child’s basic welfare. Would not award the whole remaining amount of the contract, and would not want to give the widow and other family members enough so that they could afford to just sit on their asses the rest of their lives (would hope that Ventura already gave that to them himself).

BUT, I do understand your backlash against fans who would, for example, call somebody who’s constantly engaged in charity and just generally helping out other people, an “ungrateful piece of shit” just because his absence from their TV screen through no deliberate fault of his own caused them some imagined grief several weeks ago over a fucking silly game. That kind of mindless rabble-like self centeredness is real, and it’s a problem.


Not sure I’m aware of a player ever devoting himself to one fan base over another. Once they devote themselves to my team over their next paycheck, then I will devote myself to the name on the back of the jersey instead of the name on the front.

Two way street.


A real two-way street would involve the players being able to be totally honest in public with what they actually think about the work ethic, intelligence, and character of us fans.


Which fans? The one’s in the small market where they got drafted or the one’s in LA or NY?


You think there’s much difference? You think KC fans are still better than others, on average, after the snowballs and laser and not understanding to shut our drunk faces when the Chiefs are on offense?

Maybe we were better, once. But if there was a quality gap there, it’s gotten a helluva lot narrower lately.

But anyhow, yeah…. Which fans? The ones who throw snowballs on the field while their own team is winning, and aim laser pointers at players, and don’t understand when to shut their drunk stupid faces while KC is on offense.


it’s absolutely a business … a HUGE business at that


for those of us who arent a fan of the Glass family and how they run the team, this is just another reason to go atop many as to why we want him to sell to someone else. This isnt really shocking and the Royals were probably hoping that it would just go away quietly as they talked about how they were willing to honor the contract after it happened and got the good PR from it.

If I remember correctly there was some clause about if he died because he was driving drunk then they werent going to honor the contract but then the family or whoever refused to release the cause of death, so the Glass family being as they are probably are using that to say it was clearly drunk driving and being cheap. At the very least they could have made sure that the daughter was taken care of kind of like how the Chiefs did after Belcher if Im not mistaken


The KC Star article stated that she has a $12.6 million restricted trust funded by his life insurance policy.


Did you hear about the soccer player who died recently? Emiliano Sala. He was sold by Nantes to Cardiff for 17 million euros, but his plane crashed on the way to Cardiff.

I think it was the most expensive player Cardiff had bought. The deal had just been finalized and now Nantes are demanding the transfer fee from Cardiff the day after his body was finally found.


Not just a business< but a BIG business that doesn't care about anything but the almighty $.
I don't know how contracts actually work, but if someone died do they still owe money to the family?
Seems to me a contract becomes voided if a person dies.


Thats the problem with guaranteed contracts. Nobody should be paid for anything they didnt do. Using Ventura as our example (I know nothing about contracts or any of that but my logic is this)….
Signs 5 year deal worth 55m (even numbers for sake of simplicity)

Year 1 – fulfills contract obligation – paid in full
Year 2 – injured mid-season – paid in full (INSURANCE)
Year 3 – fulfills contract obligation – paid in full
Year 4 – dies in off season – unable to fulfill contract

Contract should terminate upon death. No further monies should be paid.