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Sewald: Fans who heckle over their bets don't care about D-Backs

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Arizona Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald believes gambling has changed the priorities and behavior of some fans for the worse.

"(Gamblers who heckle) don't really care about the Diamondbacks," he told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "They just care about their bets, and we're talking about money they don't have that they are losing."

Amendments have been made to MLB's current collective bargaining agreement to help protect players from gambling-related heckling - including the implementation of a safety hotline to report threats - but policing interactions in real time remains a challenge.

"It gets ugly really quickly. It's scary, and it's sad," he said. "It used to be fans who were upset because you blew the game for the team, but now it's gambling."

Sewald has earned far more cheers than jeers in 2024, pitching to a sparkling 0.87 ERA and 0.48 WHIP. The right-hander is a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities thus far.

However, the Diamondbacks have struggled overall on the season after winning the National League pennant in 2023. The team's 31-35 record already has them 9.5 games back of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

Arizona begins a three-game series with the Angels on Tuesday night.

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