The Royals gathered for a private memorial to fallen pitcher and teammate Yordano Ventura on Friday morning. Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 25 years old.
The room where the service was held was adorned with many flowers and memorabilia honoring Ventura.
There was a large floral blue mitt holding a baseball, a giant “30” made out of white flowers and a framed Ventura jersey was on an easel. On the podium was a giant black patch that said “Ace 30.” A large screen read “KC in loving memory Yordano Ventura 1991-2017.”
As the doors closed for the service to begin, Royals players walked in last.
Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre thanked everyone for being there, but also talked about Game 7 of the 2015 World Series. He recalled that none of them would forget what Ventura did in Game 6 and they would never forget his smile.
"Yordano's right arm was that of a man, but his smile was that of a child," Lefebvre said.
Team Chaplin Matt Marasco was introduced, every head was bowed and the room fell silent as a prayer was said.
A heartfelt and emotional video was played, honoring Ventura and all of his accomplishments.
There were photos of him in the clubhouse, celebrating a win with his team. It highlighted his personality and spirit on and off the field.
After the video ended, Royals manager Ned Yost said a few words.
"As a manager I'm always trying to analyze what's going so I can fix it, maybe make it better, but when I got the call from Dayton Moore, the message about bad news about Yordano, the first thing I thought was he was injured. I spent from that point on to this point spent time trying to figure out my feelings, my emotions, but the problem that I find is that there's no peace in this situation. When a young life is taken at such a young age it's hard to find peace.”
Yost continued to say that “God has a plan.”
“He had a plan for Yordano. For 25 years. We were able to get to know him and love him and what was so special is he loved us back," he said. "Time will heal the hole. And the only way for us to do it is together."
General Manager Dayton Moore also spoke with 41 Action News about Ventura.
A few others spoke, including pitching coach Dave Eiland.
"Yesterday when I landed in Kansas City I made a vow to try not to be sad, because what he did bring us was joy. He was entertaining and fun loving and he had heart, it goes back to the heart."
Eiland said on days off, Ventura would always check in to see how he was doing.
Eric Hosmer considered Ventura a younger brother.
"He was the young brother. The young, wild one running around in the locker room all day. The young one we all looked out for. We all saw the change. We watched a young man come into a big league locker room and to see him become a young man, who was giving back to the younger guys on the team, and giving back to the community,” he said.
Hosmer talked to 41 Actions News about his experiences with Ventura in the video below.
The Royals will have a special memorial at Fan Fest to honor Ventura. FanFest will be held at Bartle Hall on January 27-28.
To honor the legacy of Ventura, the Royals announced the ACE 30 Memorial Fund. It has been established through Royals Charities. Funds will support youth baseball projects in his native country of the Dominican Republic.
Attn: ACE 30 Memorial Fund
1 Royal Way
Kansas City, MO 64129