Among Ventura’s tremendous starts was the fire he had inside of him when it came to defending himself and his teammates.
Ventura had a temper. He let opponents get under his skin and would showcase his emotion any time he was feeling something. This led to him getting called out a lot by the media, but it’s hard to argue the fight that Ventura had when it came to the game of baseball.
Ventura took a lot of heat for the way he handled his emotions, but at the end of the day, you had to admire how much the game meant to him.
His first dust-up was with Angels Mike Trout early in the season, who hit a grounder. The two had some words and it became a whole scene around Major League Baseball.
The next was against the Athletics and a game that I got to witness in person. After the Brett Lawrie debacle happened the night before, Ventura beaned him with a fastball. The dugouts cleared and even the guys in the bullpen were joining the action.
Ventura was ejected for throwing at Lawrie, but he showed he had his teammates’ backs. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team.
The big event later on, however, was when the Royals went to Chicago to play the White Sox. Adam Eaton and him got into it and a huge scene started up. Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Samardzija were shouting at each other, Edinson Volquez was punching people, and Chris Sale went into the locker room later to fight Ventura.
Ventura’s big moment in 2016 came when he hit Manny Machado and the two duked it out on the mound.
Ventura took a lot of heat for the way he handled his emotions, but at the end of the day, you had to admire how much the game meant to him. He cared about his reputation and about his teammates and felt the need to defend both. That’s pretty big for a 25-year old.