TUCSON - Stressing they are not seeking to avoid signing autographs for fans, Diamondbacks players who met with management Friday to discuss the team’s autograph policy said all sides are now "on the same page."
"The upshot of it is," general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said Saturday, "we’re going to get with the guys on a fairly regularly basis over the next month and continue to finetune this. But everybody wants the same thing, which is to let the fans know we appreciate them coming out to the ballpark."
The D-Backs sent players a letter in January outlining a mandatory, 10-minute signing session to be held before every home night game at Bank One Ballpark. Managing general partner Jerry Colangelo then reiterated the plan in a meeting before the first full-squad workout of spring training.
Players, though, had some concerns. So the sides met Friday: players Craig Counsell, Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez with Colangelo, team president Rich Dozer and Garagiola.
"We’re all on the same page with it," Finley said. "We just want to make it something that works for everybody in the clubhouse and (the fans). It was a very good meeting."
Players emphasized they did not want to get out of signings but only sought to help plan the process.
"You never think of everything, and the players’ input on all of this is very valuable," Garagiola said.
"We’re going to do it," Counsell said. "We’re committed to doing it. We just exchanged some ideas for ways to make it better."
The procedure may be adjusted — perhaps not every player will take part every day — and there may be some additional efforts to increase interaction between fans and players.
Gonzalez said he wants to make sure kids are involved and any efforts do not "get stale."
"We just wanted to come up with some different ideas and do some different things," Gonzalez said.
"Everything is going to benefit the fans. We’re all in agreement that that’s our main concern, to try to make a better environment for our fans. Our team is one of the most giving teams in all of baseball, on and off the field."