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Report: Woman was killed by foul ball at Dodgers game in August

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A Dodgers fan, 79-year-old Linda Goldbloom, was struck and killed by a foul ball at a game between the Padres and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in August last year, ESPN’s Outside the Lines is reporting. OTL cites a Los Angeles County coroner’s report.

The incident occurred in the top of the ninth inning when Franmil Reyes fouled off a Kenley Jansen fastball, sending it to the first base side of home plate, striking Goldbloom. Goldbloom was celebrating both her 79th birthday and her 59th wedding anniversary. The ball went just past where the recently-installed protective netting ends.

As ESPN’s William Weinbaum notes, Goldbloom is the third known fan to die from being struck by a baseball at a major league stadium and the first in nearly 50 years. There have been other incidents that have made the news in recent years, particularly as teams have been urged to install more protective netting at ballparks. In September 2017, a young girl was struck in the face by a Todd Frazier foul ball and had to be carried out of the stadium and taken to a hospital. She suffered multiple facial fractures and her brain bleeding had to be monitored for a potential seizure. According to her father, Geoff Jacobson, when he first saw her in the hospital, she had an imprint of the baseball on her forehead.

ESPN reached out to Jacobson and told him about the Goldbloom incident. Jacobson said, “My heart goes out to the whole family. It’s so unnecessary that this had to happen. … It’s just tragic that another family is going through this and lost a loved one.”

What’s particularly irksome about this news is that neither the Dodgers nor Major League Baseball publicly commented about Goldbloom’s death. OTL contacted the Dodgers on Monday for comment and a spokesperson said (roughly five months after Goldbloom’s death), “Mr. and Mrs. Goldbloom were great Dodgers fans who regularly attended games. We were deeply saddened by this tragic accident and the passing of Mrs. Goldbloom. The matter has been resolved between the Dodgers and the Goldbloom family. We cannot comment further on this matter.”

All 30 major league stadiums should be pressed to install netting down the entire length of the foul lines. In April 2016, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel did a piece for Real Sports exploring the protective netting at baseball stadiums in Japan. There, netting has gone foul line to foul line and has been that way for years. Ballparks also repeatedly play safety videos and staff members blow whistles to warn fans of incoming foul balls. It’s high time major league stadiums implemented similar safety measures.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.