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Pudge Rodriguez thinks baseball needs to put steroids in the past

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Hall of Famer-elect Ivan Rodriguez was in Rangers camp over the weekend. While there, he made a plea for baseball — specifically, the Hall of Fame and its voters — to bury the old PEDs hatchet:

“I think these are things baseball needs to put in the past,” Rodriguez said when asked about players from the Steroid Era. “It’s time to think about the game of baseball. There are others who should be in the Hall of Fame, as well. They had great careers. Why not?”

I can’t decide if Pudge is a poor messenger here or, maybe, the most effective messenger for this sentiment possible.

On the one hand, he is widely thought to have used PEDs. There has never been any substantiation of him using PEDs and the only accusation of it came from Jose Canseco, but I’d guess more than half of the baseball fans who followed his career and the Steroid Era believed he used for a couple of reasons. Primarily, changes in his physique and production once drug-testing was implemented. As such, many people may scoff at him asking for the PED guys to be let into the Hall of Fame.

On the other hand . . . he’s going into the Hall of Fame. If you were to grant the assumptions of those fans who suspect him of using, it means a PED guy is heading into Cooperstown. He wouldn’t be the first if he does, indeed, fit that bill, but he may be the most conspicuous. And, somehow, the Heavens aren’t falling. A lot of fans love it, in fact, and we’ve all been able to think back about a career that was pretty damn remarkable and fun to watch.

So, even if you think Pudge is a user, does he not have a point? What is his induction costing anyone? What would Barry Bonds’ induction? Or anyone else’s?

 

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.