On This "Very, Very Sad Day," Nolan Ryan Asks Media For Restraint and Ponders What Now

Categories: Sports
NolanRyanJuly8.JPG
Photo by Nick Rallo
Once more Nolan Ryan gathered the media together to discuss "a very, very sad day for the Texas Rangers organization" -- the death last night of 39-year-old Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone, who fell 20 feet to his death at the Ballpark in Arlington attempting to reach a ball Josh Hamilton had tossed his way. The team's CEO and president answered each question dutifully, often at length; he shied away only from queries about how the incident is affecting Hamilton specifically and whether changes will be made to the stadium, where, for the second time in just 12 months, a man fell over the railing.

Ryan described where he was when Stone fell -- talking to Laura Bush, who was in attendance with husband George, his back to the field. He said he "heard the crowd" and was told by a Secret Service agent that a fan had just fallen from the bleachers. And he explained what happened to Stone's son, 6-year-old Cooper, after his father disappeared from view:Usher went up to the seats and took Cooper down. He rode to the hospital with father, sitting in the front seat of the ambulance. Members of the Brownwood Fire Department, and their priest, drove Shannon's 36-year-old wife Jenny to John Peter Smith.

"This is one of the saddest things I've ever seen at the ballpark," said Ryan, who would also describe the fall as "a freak accident."

Ryan spoke with Jenny this morning at her home in Brownwood. She told him Shannon and Cooper were both "big Rangers fans." Ryan said Jenny's "very concerned about her son and the impact it's having on him," particularly the fact that the video footage of his father's fall is widely available online. Ryan asked the media to refrain from re-airing the footage out of respect for the family.

"That's the decent thing for y'all to do," he said. "I'd appreciate that."
He said there are no plans to install netting beneath the bleachers. He was asked why the railing on the bleachers wasn't raised last year, after Corinth firefighter Tyler Morris fell 30 feet from Section 235. Ryan said that after that incident, "we did a study of our rails, and they exceed code ... We had what we felt was adequate."

Ryan said this is the fourth such incident in the history of the stadium, but acknowledged that two within a year was "disturbing."

"As an organization, our No. 1 concern is the safety of our fans," he said, "and we make the stadium as safe as we possibly can."

He didn't want to address how Hamilton is handling Stone's death, though he said grief counselors will be available for both the players and the first responders on the scene. He praised the actions of the Arlington police, fire department and paramedics who were called to the scene. "We did everything we could possibly do."

Ryan spoke to the team last night after the game and said the mood was "very somber." Both the Rangers and the Athletics will wear black ribbons on their uniforms at tonight's game. There will also be a moment of silence observed before game, and the flag will fly at half-mast through the weekend. The Texas Rangers Foundation is also setting up a memorial account for the family, Ryan said, and has already made a "substantial donation" to the account. The public will be able to donate to it as well; more information will be available before tonight's game.
My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Nolan said that there used to something in that exact area, that has since been removed. I believe it was a simple wooden deck, I've walked the whole park countless times..so I was completely surprised that it wasn't still there.. When was it removed? And who's to blame for it's removal? I didnt buy Nolan's reasoning for it's removal either, sounded like ass covering to me. RIP Fireman Stone.

whiterockfan
whiterockfan

What does that matter? The rails are obviously inadequate. This problem should have been designed out of the stadium at the get-go. This was not a freak accident, it was a preventable one.

Eric Mata
Eric Mata

If you see the video the man reaches out way beyond the safety rails with both arms leaving himself unable to grab the railing when he lost his balance. If the railing had been high enough it would obstruct the the view of the fans sitting in the front row. This happens all the time in the seats by the foul lines, fans become so focused and getting a foul ball they fall onto the field and this is what happened with this man, he became so focused on catching the ball he wasn't thinking about his safety. 

Sanders Kaufman
Sanders Kaufman

George Bush - he brings bad luck with him everywhere he goes.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Biggest douchebag comment in the history of The Dallas Observer.  Dude, you should punch yourself in the face for posting that.

Sanders Kaufman's Keeper
Sanders Kaufman's Keeper

Sanders Kaufman, Jr. is a well-known usenet troll who has been kicked off just about every site he writes on. He'll say anything to get a reaction.

Nasty little brat, believe me

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Next time don't hit Post if that's the best you can do. Was that really necessary?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

This is a total tragedy for all involved. I will say its a class move for the local press to stop running the clip, not because nolan asked, but because the widow implored. 

On safety netting: Im all for it, it can and should be done, especially in those areas of most risk. But, adding this is a caveat, safety is a two way street that also extends to the guest of the ballpark as well. They need to be aware of their surroundings and situation. 

Gary B. Sasin
Gary B. Sasin

Nolan Ryan, alsodescribe the fall as "a freak accident." My Aunt Fanny's fanny, whois he kidding? Where were the Safety Specialist and Manager for the Ballpark?Do they even have one? Was an Annual Safety and Health Inspection performedPRIOR to letting the first visitor into the Ballpark this year?

Ryan saidthat after that incident, "we did a study of our rails, and they exceedcode ... We had what we felt was adequate." The handrails only meet theCodes requirements and remember the Code is the MINUMUM requirement.

I don’t findany fault with Josh Hamilton; he was doing what every Father wishes he could doat a ballpark and that to present his son with a ball thrown by their SportsHero. But I do with the unsafe condition of any Public Venue on the managementof that Public Venue! The first time it happened was a freak accident thesecond time was predictable, avoidable and cost a person their life! Especiallywith such easy and cheap fixes are available.

From a retired SafetyCompliance Officer for over 25 years.

just thinkin'
just thinkin'

The railings at the Ballpark exceed, not just meet,  all code requirements by the City of Arlington and the state.

Armad M cgill
Armad M cgill

Ranger need to raise that rail or put a safety belt on front roll seats,that go around the customers sitting on the front seats,if they wanna catch the ball,the belt will keep them from going over the rail.

Robroy
Robroy

Alpone, thanks for not making Nolan Ryan any richer. How about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the Walton family, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Warren Buffet, Jerry Yang, Michael Dell, the Saudi's, and so on. You making any them any richer ?, as anyone of them could buy Nolan out of their petty cash fund.

So Sad
So Sad

Asking the media to stop replaying the video is like asking like asking the Pope to turn atheist.  Won't happen.  Biggest violator: YouTube.  Best wishes to the family.  Such a tough situation.

EastDallas4Life
EastDallas4Life

YouTube isn't "the media". That's like saying Wikipedia is academia.

So Sad
So Sad

SorryAndrew. Wrong answer. Definition of media:

1. Communicationchannels through which news,entertainment,education,data,or promotionalmessages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcastingand narrowcastingmediumsuch as newspapers,magazines,TV, radio, billboards,direct mail,telephone,fax, and internet.Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singularverb, depending on the sense intended.

2. Data storagematerialdivided into three broad categories according tothe recordingmethod:(1) Magnetic, such as diskettes,disks, tapes, (2) Optical, suchas microfiche,and (3) Magneto-Optical,such as CDsand DVDs.

Thanks forplaying though.  It soundedintelligent.  Just shy of the markthough.

EastDallas4Life
EastDallas4Life

Well I'm glad you know how to use a dictionary. Yes, YouTube is media but it is not "the media". Anyone who has taken a journalism class will agree, no doubt. Sorry snarky guy.

Alpone
Alpone

Chasing a frigin ball so that Nolan Ryan gets richer. No not me. 

Alpone
Alpone

That is sad and sick. that is all you have, you and your son chasing autographs of some baseball idiot? Get a frigin life.  

Alpone
Alpone

I am sad for the family. Nolan Ryan is sad too because it impact his money. He is a pathetic POS. covering up his azz. I hope the family sues his azz and collects what is due to them. Adios rolan ryan , MoFo!.

trannnyntraining
trannnyntraining

can't they install nets(like at the circuses) in these danger areas? I dunno

harveylacey
harveylacey

They have horizontal fences to protect mistakes from becoming fatalities on ships, I even installed one at a helipad in Plano many years ago.  It's old technology, no rocket science  here.

It would easy to retrofit a horizontal catch fence on all the upper railings.  Basically the same pipe material that is used for the existing railings could be used formed in an arc.  The use of the same material would fit in the aesthetics of the existing rail and not make the retrofit appear to be an after thought.  These arcs could use the existing hand rail posts for support.  Then steel cables spaced three to four inches apart could be run end to end of the existing handrails.  

The retrofit as I see it wouldn't be expensive because there would be no need for on site welding.  The big expense would be the scaffolding for the safe installation.  It would probably cost as much as the catch fence itself.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Dunno. Accidents happen. There is an element of danger understood when you're in the first row of seats - ground level, gotta watch for line drives. Upper levels, well.. we've seen what can happen.

Very sad.

Dad
Dad

This is so unbelievably sad. It immediately brought tears to my eyes, as I have a 7 year old boy and a 3 year old boy. I just cant imagine how such a freak accident could happen. If precautions can be taken, it needs to be seriously considered, this cant happen again. A little 6 year old boy doesn't have a father anymore - what a tragedy. 

David Whitten
David Whitten

My thoughts & prayers go out to the family and Texas Rangers.  What a sad situation. 

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

Stunning, just stunning...a rite of passage--father takes son to see beloved Rangers, turns into passage of an entirely different kind.  May the love of every community be bestowed on a grieving family.  The tears are hard to hold back on this one.  

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Last Saturday my wife and 7-year-old son (a pretty good little ballplayer now, not to mention ball card collector) and I took my mom and dad to the Ballpark for their anniversary. We sat close to Ryan; the boy wanted to get his autograph, but that's not allowed, so he watched the game and penciled in his first scorecard and ate his dog and drank his soda and wanted to stay till the very last out. My dad used to take me to Arlington Stadium when I was his age, even younger; my dad's dad, for whom my boy is named, used to take my father to Burnett Field for Dallas Eagles games. And I said, over and over again during the night, there's nothing better than being a ballgame with your dad ... except being there with your dad and your son.

And that's all I've been able to think about since that initial email from the Rangers arrived in the in-box at 10:02 last night, saying that a man had died reaching for a foul ball during the second inning, and that he'd gone with his 6-year-old son.

Alpone
Alpone

"This is one of the saddest things I've ever seen at the ballpark," said Ryan, who would also describe the fall as "a freak accident." Mr. ryan, the freak thing is that people pay money to watch freaks play a game.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

"This is one of the saddest things I've ever seen at the ballpark," said Ryan, who would also describe the fall as "a freak accident."

One of the saddest things? How about the saddest thing? Can't imagine anything sadder.

Robert G Carter
Robert G Carter

lay off it sam.... for once, your satire is out of bounds dude

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...