Carlos Martinez honored Oscar Taveras and Yordano Ventura with pregame ritual
The season opener is, at its core, a celebration of baseball. That celebration takes many forms: #CapsOn, military flyovers, and all the other pomp and circumstance. But, sometimes celebrating baseball requires us to also remember those we lost.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez has been etching the No. 18 into the pitcher's mound prior to every start for the past two seasons in honor of his friend, former Cardinals teammate, and fellow Dominican Oscar Taveras. Taveras was killed in a car crash during the 2014-15 offseason. He also wears the number 18 in memory of Taveras.
Sadly, Martinez added a second number to his pregame memorial before Sunday night's 4-3 win over the Cubs. Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic this offseason. Ventura wore No. 30 with the Royals.
A kind gesture memorializing these two young players, and fellow Dominican brethren, who were taken from the game too soon. The Royals were appreciative of Martinez's tribute.
After the game, Martinez spoke about the gesture with MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (speaking through a translator):
In his season debut, Martinez went 7 1/3 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts while only allowing six hits.