By Tyrell Bartell, Collegian Contributor
The Kansas City Royals were devastated last month when they received news that Yordano Ventura, their 25-year-old pitcher, had died in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. According to Colonel Jacobo Mateo Moquete, director of communications for the military and police of the Dominican Republic, Ventura was killed on the Juan Adrian highway in San Jose de Ocoa. His death comes about two years after another promising young player, outfielder Oscar Taveras, was killed in a different car accident, also in the Dominican Republic. Taveras was only 24 when he and his girlfriend were killed in Puerto Plata in October on 2014.
In his career with the Royals, Ventura started 93 games, posting a 38-31 record and a 3.89 ERA. He also went 27-18 in 2014-15, when the Royals won back-to-back American League pennants and the 2015 World Series. He made nine post-season starts in those seasons.
According to a report in 2013 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Dominican Republic has the second most dangerous roads in the world. For every 100,000 residents, 41.7 people have traffic accidents every year. One eighth of the entirety of MLB is comprised of Dominican players, and assuming that those players spend half of their time in the Dominican Republic, every year there is a 3% chance that one of them will be killed in a crash. Shortly after the death of Taveras in 2014, retired Dominican pitcher Pedro Martinez tweeted his condolences and demanded that the authorities repair the country’s highways. The roads do not always have clear markings and most lack streetlamps. Pedestrian accidents are very common; pedestrians may assume that they never have the right-of-way on foot. Insanely, they also have no laws regarding alcohol consumptions prior to operating a vehicle. The authorities of the Dominican Republic need to get these roads cleaned up quickly. If they don’t, these accidents will only continue.