Fan Dies After Fall From Outfield Seats At Ballpark

By Ryan Crowe, CBSDFW.com
6030629 vk Fan Dies After Fall From Outfield Seats At Ballpark

Credit: Comcast Sports Bay Area


updated 4:30 p.m., July 9

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A baseball fan trying to catch a ball at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington died from his injuries Thursday night after falling from his seat to the ground roughly 20 feet below.

The fan, identified early Friday morning as 39-year-old Shannon Stone of Brownwood, was with his 6-year-old son, Cooper.

During the second inning of Thursday night’s game against the Oakland A’s, Stone apparently reached out for a ball tossed into the left field lower reserved seats by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Stone lost his balance and fell over the railing, out of sight from the field. He landed on concrete behind the out of town video board that makes up the left field wall.

KRLD’s Mike Young reports from ballpark

There is about a six-foot space between the stands and the wall.  The area used to house the manual scoreboard.  The wall is 15 feet high.  According to members of the Arlington Fire Department, another fan tried to grab Stone by his shirt, but was unable to hold on.  Stone’s son was held back by other fans and did not fall.

Stone was quickly attended to by paramedics at the Ballpark.

Despite being conscious after the fall, officials with the Arlington Fire Department say Stone “went into full arrest” while being transported by ambulance to JPS Hospital in Fort Worth.

Stone was pronounced dead less than an hour after he fell. He was a lieutenant with the Brownwood Fire Department and had been a firefighter for 17 years.

Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler was in the visitor’s bullpen in left-center field, near where Stone fell.  He was in tears after the game when he found out about Stone’s death. The pitcher said when Stone was being put on a stretcher, he told people helping him that his son was “up there by himself” and asked them to check on the boy.

“He had his arms swinging. He talked and was conscious. We assumed he was okay,” Ziegler said. “But when you find out he’s not, it’s just tough.”

Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan told reporters after the game the team was “Deeply saddened to learn that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident.”  He went on to say “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Ryan spoke with the team after the game, passing along the news of the death. The Rangers’ clubhouse was closed to the media after the game. Outfielder Josh Hamilton was distraught by the news.

On Friday, Ryan addressed members of the media to say that the Texas Rangers Foundation is starting a memorial account to the Stone family.  He said the team will be making a significant donation, and that fans will be able to make donations at the stadium and at texasrangers.com.

Ryan called Thursday’s accident “One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen at the ballpark.”  He added “As a father and grandfathers my heart goes out to Jenny Stone and Cooper.”

He said players will have access to counseling, saying it was an individual situation on how the players wanted to handle it.  He added they had placed a tarp over the area.  He said they have not discussed any plans to secure the area.

Ryan said when the manual scoreboard was in place there was a ‘decking material’ in place over the gap, but that it was removed to keep people from climbing over for foul balls.

Flags at the stadium are at half-staff, and will be through the weekend.  There was a moment of silence before Friday’s national anthem.

Melanie Larose, a family friend, released a statement on behalf of the family Friday that says they are devastated by the tragedy. The family thanked everyone for their support and asked for privacy.

Shannon Stone’s mother Suzann told The Associated Press that her son and grandson Cooper had stopped on the way to Arlington on Thursday to buy the boy a new glove. The two were “almost attached at the hip” and went to Rangers games often, including one of the team’s World Series games last season, she said.

“That’s what they were there for was to catch a ball,” the 63-year-old mother said. “Cooper loves baseball and he’s a big Josh Hamilton fan. Had his jersey.”

Stone’s funeral will be held at First United Methodist in Brownwood, a town about 150 miles from Arlington. Visitation is scheduled Sunday night at Davis Morris Funeral Home in Brownwood.

The City of Brownwood is also flying flags at half-staff and will do so through the day of the funeral.

In Brownwood Friday, the city was taking the news of Stone’s death hard.  “The Brownwood community is just extremely saddened by this event,” said Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree. “A tragedy like this you can’t explain it. How in the world can something like this happen, a young dad takes his young son to a ballgame and such a tragedy occurs.”

“He was very dedicated as a firefighter, it could only be matched by his love and dedication for his family and son,” said Brownwood Fire Chief Del Albright, fighting back tears. “Anytime he came around off duty his son was with him. It will be a great loss for his son and for us all.”

This is the third case of a fan falling at Rangers Ballpark since it opened.  In 1994 a woman fell from the railing of the upper home run porch on opening day while posing for a picture.  Last year another firefighter, Tyler Morris, fell about 30 feet from the second deck of seats down the right field line, while trying to catch a foul ball.  “I am really saddened by what happend last night.  It is a hard situation to deal with being a brother fellow firefighter and friend as well.

Morris knows Stone and his brother.  “It made my stomach drop to know who it was… My thoughts and prayers are with the Stone family right now.”

This is the first death to occur from a fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.) 

Comments

One Comment

  1. Alan says:

    You should take down the video, especially considering he died.

    1. C Bauer says:

      Not a chance – they obey the following rule of sleazy journalism: Put the widow on the set, give us dirty laundry!

  2. Brady says:

    Shame on you for showing that video. If there’s no law against showing the death of a human on TV, there ought to be.

  3. Mitzy says:

    How insensitive to his family to show this video! And to continue and play it over and over on the news! How disappointing!

    1. Chase Boyer says:

      its npt as bad as fox 4. they showed it everytime they left for commercial breaks and came back plus multiple other times.

  4. J.C. says:

    My heart and prayers go out to the man’s loved ones. I also agree with Alan, this should be removed immediately! I also feel the league and anyone who owns or has any control over a sporting facility should consider making it safer for the fans by raising these bars so this doesn’t happen. When someone is excited at capturing a piece of game memorabilia, the last thing on their mind is falling off a platform and this is completely avoidable if we can raise the safety gates. I also pray for Hamilton who will feel he did something wrong by offering a baseball without any knowledge of what would occur. If the concern is bickering over a higher piece of metal, then use glass. They use glass at hockey rinks and I have never had an issue with seeing the action in the game. I cannot believe these types of injuries are so easy to avoid and no one does anything.

  5. Yami Gonzales Fields says:

    Please take down this video immediately!!!! What poor taste….

  6. LR Dallas says:

    I have lost all respect for CBS11 for showing the video, not once but several times on tonights broadcast. TAKE IT DOWN NOW AND STOP REBROADCASTING IT out of respect for the little boy who just lost his father. Shame on you.

  7. Mark Warneke says:

    Why did they take him to a Ft. Worth hospital when Arlington Memorial is only 2 miles away and is a fully staffed trauma center?

  8. R. Heinlein says:

    I work for a fabricator that makes guardrails for stairs, stadiums and the like. It has always amazed me that the building codes for the rails at seating areas of stadiums is not the same as it is for anywhere else that fall protection is required.

    Prayers for the family and all involved in this tragedy,

Comments are closed.

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