At a news conference Friday afternoon, Rangers president Nolan Ryan announced that the team would create and make a “substantial” donation to a memorial fund for Shannon Stone’s family.
Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter, was killed Thursday night after tumbling over the railing at Rangers Ballpark.
“It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen at a ballpark,” Ryan said. “As a father and a grandfather, my heart goes out to that family.”
The Dallas Morning News has a several more notes from the news conference, including mentions from Ryan that any player who needs time off to recover emotionally will get it and that both the Rangers and A’s will wear black armbands in Stone’s honor tonight.
Ryan also said that he wasn’t sure whether Josh Hamilton would play tonight, but “I have no reason to think that he won’t” play.
6:10 p.m. EDT: Here’s the link to the memorial account set up by the Rangers:
Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Memorial Account in Honor of Shannon Stone
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.