The Tragic Accident at the Ballpark Last Night

Categories: Sports
At 10:02 last night, an email from the Texas Rangers arrived in the in-box bearing the subject heading "Statement From Texas Rangers CEO and President Nolan Ryan." This is what it said:
The adult male who during tonight's game fell approximately 20 feet from section 5 in the left field lower reserved seats to the area behind the left field wall has died from injuries suffered in the fall. Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened to learn that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
That man, we now know, was Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone, a Cleburne High graduate and 17-year-veteran of the fire department who was attending the game with his young son, Cooper. Stone fell after catching a foul ball tossed to him by Josh Hamilton; said Ron Washington after the game, when speaking of Hamilton, "I guess he's got to deal with it in his own way." Players knew of the fall, which occurred near the Oakland bullpen, but not the extent of Stone's injuries. From the Rangers' website:
"When they had him on a stretcher and they were carrying him out, he was saying stuff like 'Please check on my son, he's left up there by himself.'" Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler said. "The people that carried him out reassured him that, 'We'll get your son, we'll make sure he's OK.' We just kind of assumed that he's talking, he's conscious, he'll be OK. To find out he's not is just ... tough."
Update at 11:30 a.m.: The Rangers have scheduled a 2:30 p.m. press conference with Ryan to discuss last night's tragedy. Also, notes the release from team spokesman John Blake: "All of the flags at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington have been lowered to half-mast in the memory of Shannon Stone. The Rangers will also observe a moment of silence in Mr. Stone's memory prior to Friday's game. More information will be available at the media briefing."

Update at 2 p.m.: In advance of the Rangers' press conference, Major League Baseball has issued the following press release:
"All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened over the tragic death of Mr. Stone last evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and his entire family. Major League Baseball has the utmost sensitivity to the safety of all the fans that come to our ballparks. Our players are encouraged to be fan-friendly and we will carefully review this incident with our clubs to continue to ensure a safe environment for our fans."

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24 comments
William M
William M

So much has been argued about the political implications involved in this accident that no one seems to see the monster behind the physics involved in it.  So, for the record, I'd like to leave this comment.First off, only two things could have saved this gentleman's life.  That would have been more friction on the ground and more friction on the railing.  Watch the video again and you will see that the man didn't just lose his balance and teeter over the rail.  To the contrary, he first accelerated forward and to his left to catch the ball.  Sadly, when his midsection collided with the upper bar of the railing, one of his feet was already off the ground.  If both of his feet had have been firmly planted on the ground, then the force of him moving forward would have been tranferred and absorbed into the motion of him bending over.  But then his other foot slid out from under him!  Indeed, he was wearing a slick pair of sandals.  When his feet slipped out from underneath him, this caused his legs to thrust upwards which straightened his back. This restraightening of his back caused an elastic effect which, temporarily, worked to accelerate him over the railing.   Watch the video again and you will notice this oddity.Second, as the gentleman is hurdling over the railing, he attempts to reach out to catch the wall on the other side of the narrow slit.  As the narrow slit he fell into guaranteed that he would suffer terrible trauma, as there wasn't any room at the bottom of it for his body to flop to relieve the stress of the impact, the grabbing onto the wall he managed to do left him in a position where he actually fell face first.This can also be seen in the video as well.Anyway, the physics behind this terrible accident is surely a monster we should all be concerned about.  It has greatly effected my life and my prayers go out to his son who certainly lost a great father.          

Garyesubtex
Garyesubtex

Hey this man was only try retrive a ball for his little boy now his dead it was freaking accident I hope they do something for hs boy if my dad died try to catch a ball I would feel very guilt and very sad

Ed D.
Ed D.

This sort of sports-related story is exactly why the Observer needs a sports blog to go along with its news, music, food, and pop culture blogs. If only...

fireman68
fireman68

does anyone know how quickly they will post his job? Im a furloughed fireman from Oklahoma and need a job to support my family.

Joe
Joe

Tragic for all involved.  As to safety, I don't understand why people might not want to learn from this experience and at least consider doing something different to try to avoid it happening a second time.  Safety for the next time has nothing to do with assigning "fault" for this time.  Just maybe a look at how we can do better so a kid does not get to watch his Dad fall and later die. 

Alpone
Alpone

I'm sorry that the man died, but. "Stupid is as stupid does" - Forrest Gump.

Sad Fan
Sad Fan

I've sat in those seats before and the fear of falling into that 20ft deep "canyon" did cross my mind a few times.  My guess for the board to be installed 4 feet away from the stands has something to do with maintenance accessibility of the board but a simple safety net in this case should really be considered.

Marty McCormack
Marty McCormack

This reminds me of the Elec. Daisy. Was he drunk? Blame the park? My deepest condolences to the family. I hope they sue the park for putting on a venue that is not safe.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

A horrible accident. Prayers to the family, friends and everyone who saw this occur (in person or on TV).

Life is short.

Luke
Luke

Hey, Observer: Could you take the quotation marks around "Tragic Accident" out of the title, please? It makes it seem like it's something that only "allegedly happened," or wasn't "as serious" as "people say."It's kinda disrespectful to this poor man who died.

Storm_71
Storm_71

 My heart goes out to the family of the man that passed away last night at the Ballpark. I can’t imagine leaving my 5 year old son up in the stands by himself while I’m carted off. I don’t say this to sound selfish but I also feel for Josh. I know if I where in his shoes I would feel horrible.  I am not placing blame here because this was a tragic accident but people have to understand THESE ARE JUST BASEBALLS. They are not made of gold and you can buy them in the Pro Shop for like 5 bucks I think. I have sat on the rails at the game before and it always runs thru my head. Don’t jump up after one a ball if it comes near me. Shitty way to start a Friday that’s for sure.

G_David
G_David

Man, I hope this doesn't send Josh into any kind of a downward spiral.  This will be the ultimate test of his faith.  Prayers for everyone involved.

BigFulkindeal
BigFulkindeal

Or you can do what 99% of the rest of us do, heed the signs that say DO NOT LEAN OVER THE RAILING.

BigFulkindeal
BigFulkindeal

Or you can do what 99% of the rest of us do, heed the signs that say DO NOT LEAN OVER THE RAILING.

Really?
Really?

Yeah, it's so unsafe.  Kind of like any place with stairs, escalators, balconies, windows above the first floor, etc, etc, etc.  Everyone should sue anytime anything bad happens.  That will solve everything.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I was only quoting Nolan Ryan, but, indeed, I can see your point. Thanks.

Terri Manning
Terri Manning

I agree. it was just a baseball and in the horrible video it looks like the ball was not even being tossed to him but instead the man next to him with the glove. And the man that died reached out in front of the other man extending himself over the wall to try to take the ball from the man it was intended for.

Just not worth a stinking ball.

what a joke...
what a joke...

 Who cares about Josh and his "faith"? A man just friggin died leaving behind his son and family. Let's think about that family for a while. In the end, Josh will be fine.

J
J

A person's death effects more than just the person's family. Praying for all involved.

G_David
G_David

I'm pretty sure Josh cares about his faith, it's gotten him through some pretty dark times.  Like Sinatra once said, "whatever gets you through the night".   And yes, I'm thinking about the family as well.  If you don't know what the word "everyone" means look it up.  Your name suits you.

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