Report: Players requested more protective netting, but were denied by owners

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A fan suffered life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a broken bat shard during a game between the Athletics and Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night. In the aftermath, there has been increasing demand for additional protective netting that would extend beyond where it is now, behind home plate and slightly to each side.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that players have requested additional protective netting when negotiating the collective bargaining agreement the last two times in 2007 and 2012, but were rebuffed by the owners. The request called for the netting to extend down the foul lines, even to the foul pole.

Players union representative Brad Ziegler, a reliever for the Diamondbacks, commented:

“Some owners are afraid to upset the fans that pay some of the highest ticket prices, when in reality, it’s an effort to protect those very fans,” said Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler, a member of the negotiating committee for the players’ union.

“(The owners) seem afraid that fans will lose access to the players – autographs, getting baseballs, etc. — and that will cause those ticket holders to be unhappy. Or, that they’d have to watch the game through a net. (But) fans behind home plate pay the highest prices, have the same issues, and yet those seats are always full.”

Unfortunately, the injury suffered by the fan at Fenway Park on Friday may be the impetus needed to seriously tackle the issue of fan safety.

Rangers, Padres, White Sox to continue paying minor leaguers

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In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.

Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.

Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.