General view shows area where fan was seriously injured after falling over railing in outfield bleachers while trying to catch ball in Arlington

More details on the death of Shannon Stone

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More details are available this morning on the death that occurred at the Ballpark at Arlington last night. The man’s name was Shannon Stone. He was a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas and, sadly, as preliminary reports noted, he was at the game with his young son, who watched the accident happen.

According to this Associated Press report, Stone was conscious after his fall, but went into cardiac arrest soon afterward and was pronounced dead within the hour.

After the game, Nolan Ryan gave a statement:

“We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball. As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we’re very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

As we figured last night, Ryan said that Josh Hamilton was “very distraught,” as is the rest of the team and the Oakland A’s as well.

Last year another fan fell at a Rangers game, suffering serious though non-fatal injuries. During the stadium’s first game in 1994, another fan fell, also suffering serious injuries. It’s premature for anyone to talk about whether there are any fundamental issues with that ballpark or if these accidents were merely coincidental, and Ryan wouldn’t discuss that last night.  It’s certainly the case, however, that such accidents aren’t confined to Arlington. In May a fan fell to his death at Coors Field while attempting to slide down a stairway railing.  Each year, it seems, there are one or two deaths at ballparks due to falls.

But after the shock wears off, such an analysis is in order. And, as always, fans should remember that ballparks are just like anyplace else: accidents can happen and one needs to be careful.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.