Texas Rangers fan dies trying to catch ball

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Texas Rangers fan dies trying to catch ball

Post by pipopipo on Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:08 am

The sad incident at Arlington Stadium hit the heart of what the Texas Rangers and baseball is all about, said Nolan Ryan, president and CEO of the Texas Rangers, Friday.
Almost a year after a similar incident, tragedy struck again at a Texas Rangers game Thursday night when a fan fell over a railing while trying to catch a ball.
"It's a very very sad day for the Texas Rangers organization," said Ryan. "It hits us at our roots of who we are. We're about making memories, about family entertainment."
Shannon Stone, 39, flipped over the railing of the outfield seats. He fell about 20 feet -- crashing head-first into an area near a scoreboard as his horrified son watched.
The Brownwood, Texas, firefighter was rushed to a hospital where he died, the Arlington Fire Department said.
Ryan, on behalf of Stone's widow, asked the media to refrain from using the footage of Stone's fall, saying it was the "decent thing to do".
"This is a tragedy for the Stone family, his fire fighter brothers and the city of Brownwood," said Rountree in a news release. "Please keep the Stone family and his fellow fire fighters in your prayers."
The Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball also expressed their condolences for Stone's family and friends.
"We're very heavy-hearted about this," said Ryan. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family."
Major League Baseball issued a statement saying officials were "shocked and saddened" over Stone's death and are reviewing the incident.
Ryan commended the response teams efforts and said their number one concern was for the safety of the fans.
The railings' height has never been increased because they were told that they already exceeded the city's code limits, said Ryan. But, he said the fact that an incident like this has happened in the last two years is "disturbing".
Stone's accident is the fourth one at Arlington in its history, said Ryan.
Ryan also said players on both teams would sport black ribbons at Friday night's game. Flags would fly at half-mast and there would be a moment of silence, he said.
A counselor is available for players to talk to, said Ryan.
MLB officials said the incident occurred in the second inning of the game at Rangers Ballpark after star outfielder Josh Hamilton threw a ball in the stands for fans.
"I think as any of us would be, Josh is very distraught as the entire team is," Ryan said.
Another fan who was sitting near Stone saw him leaning over the rail. The second man tried to grab Stone's shirt, but could not hold on.
Video footage shows Stone's son -- decked in a Rangers hat and T-shirt -- reaching toward his father as he tumbles over the railing.
One fan who saw the fall described the incident to CNN affiliate WFAA.
"Just as the ball hit his hands, it kind of threw him off balance and he went head-first," he said. "It looked awful because you knew there was no way he was going to land on his feet "
The incident occurred almost a year after another fall at a Texas Rangers game.
On July 9, 2010, a fan fell from the second deck of the ballpark while trying to catch a foul ball.
The man, Tyler Morris, survived the 30-foot fall but fractured his skull and injured his foot and ankle.
"Somebody had to have been watching over me from above," Morris later told reporters.
Stone was a 17-year veteran of the Brownwood Fire Department and the city plans to fly flags at half-staff the day of his funeral, which is still being planned, according to City Manager Bobby Rountree.

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