Fan Who Died In Fall At Rangers Ballpark Identified As Firefighter Shannon Stone
Glenn Davis 09:57 am, July 08th, 2011
Last night, the baseball world was stunned when a Texas Rangers fan reaching for a ball thrown up to him fell out of the Rangers Ballpark stands, and was pronounced dead hours later. It was a horrific incident, made all the more so as details about the incident trickle in.
The man who fell, a firefighter from Brownwood, Tx. named Shannon Stone, was just 39 years old. He had a young son, who was with him at the game and watching when he fell. And initially after the fall, when being taken off on a stretcher, it appeared Stone would be okay. In the words of Oakland Athletics pitcher Brad Ziegler, who witnessed Stone being taken off:
"They had him on a stretcher. He said, 'Please check on my son. My son was up there by himself.' The people who carried him out reassured him. 'Sir, we'll get your son, we'll make sure he's OK.' He had his arms swinging. He talked and was conscious. We assumed he was OK. But when you find out he's not, it's just tough."
Compounding the awfulness is that in a bizarre coincidence, this incident came almost a year to the day after another fan (Tyler Morris - amazingly, also a firefighter) fell out of the stands in Arlington himself. Thankfully, Morris survived the fall. Rangers owner Nolan Ryan understandably said the team is currently "not prepared to speak about anything further than the accident and the tragedy," but most likely, discussions about the park's railings - even in the likely event that they weren't at fault in either case - will have to take place.
But as Ryan said, that's for another time. For now, there's not much left to do but feel awful for all involved. For Stone, who was simply trying to get a souvenir. For Stone's poor kid, who has to grow up without a dad because of a complete freak accident. For the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, who tossed Stone the ball he fell over trying to catch. Hamilton's dealt with enough adversity for several lifetimes already - add another cruel twist, both for him and everyone who saw something they'll never un-see.