Rangers Defend Tossing Baseballs To Fans

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – He was just trying to be a nice guy, and yet simply being nice may haunt Rangers’ Outfielder, Josh Hamilton for the rest of his life.

“Behind me I heard somebody say, hey Hamilton, how about the next one? I turned around and Mr. Stone was the first guy I saw standing there with his son.” Hamilton then recalled how he gave Stone a nod. “So I got the next one (foul ball) and threw it in that direction,” said Hamilton.

It happens just about every game. A foul ball is hit, a player grabs it and tosses it to a fan. “I think it’s one of the great things about the game; the intimate relationship between the fans and the players,” Rangers star Michael Young told reporters.

Does the death of Shannon Stone change all that? Should Major League Baseball ban tossing baseballs? Young says, no. “It’s one of the reasons why people bring gloves to the ballpark or why they give a glove to their kid. So they can enjoy that experience and we enjoy it too.”

That’s exactly what Stone did before last night’s game. He stopped off to buy his 6-year-old son a new glove.

At a news conference, Nolan Ryan recalled his playing days when he too would toss balls to his fans. As President of the Rangers, Ryan still feels the same way. “I don’t suggest that we don’t give baseballs away. We should try to accommodate our fans when it’s appropriate,” said the Hall of Famer.

Although Thursday night’s accident at the Ballpark was proof that reaching for a ball can be dangerous, many fans still say the reward is worth the risk. “Getting a ball thrown to you from a player would be a great thing to have,” said Rangers fan, Julie Marshall. “It’s a keepsake for the rest of your life.”

Rangers fan John Ferris agrees. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of catching a foul ball or a home run ball or for a player to toss me one.”

In an interview with MLB.COM, Detroit Tigers Manager, Jim Leyland says he will no longer toss baseballs up to fans in the wake of Thursday night’s tragedy.


One Comment

  1. RR Worker says:

    This is the third incident like this to happen at the ball park. Maybe it’s time to look at raising the rail height about 12 inches higher to help prevent this from happening again.

    1. Tim Logsdon says:

      In case anybody cares, the OHSA height requirement for standard platform railings is 42″. Those railings look a lot less than 42″.

  2. Joe says:

    That started after the last baseball strike. As one of several efforts to be more “friendly” players started tossing foul balls to fans. I don’t know if they were told to start doing it but that’s when it became common. Some did it before the strike but that’s when players started doing it more as well as signing more autographs and some even met fans at the gates.

    I’ve been an avid baseball fan since 1953 and I would hate to see players stop doing it but I’ve wondered why they don’t throw the ball higher up in the crowd instead of at fans in front rows.

    1. 2sister says:

      They may be trying not to throw it to hard. If it is pitched to hard and hits someone on the head, that could also be dangerous.

  3. Joe says:

    Why does this thing say there are 6 comments and there are only 2?

    1. re: Joe says:

      I think what happens is that people put in a comment and then don’t put in a valid, or wrong, email address. It probably logs that there was a comment submitted, but because the email wasn’t valid it doesn’t show up. I made comment once and it didn’t show up, then I realized later that I had missed a character in my e-mail address when I posted it.

  4. NiteNurse says:

    I think no matter how high you raise the rails there is always going to be some person who is tall enough to leap up and toss themselves over the rail. If anything this incident of this poor gentleman demise is going to open fans and employees eyes to the safety precautions needed around the rails.

  5. Joe says:

    The only way they could keep fans from getting hurt is to tie them in their seats. A higher rail might help some but sometimes things just happen.

  6. Kevin says:

    Raising the railing is not a solution, because there is no problem. This is only the 3rd time it has happened in the 17 seasons the Ballpark has been in existence. None of the times has it been the team’s fault, so raising any railings isn’t necessary.

    If the team wants to do something for fans in certain areas, like the left field seating area, add a platform where he fell. Plant a garden there. Name it after him.

  7. Chris says:

    City code requires 26-inch railing. The Ballpark has 33-inch railing. They’re tall enough. This was simply an unfortunate accident. Let’s not overreact.

  8. Jeryl says:

    My prayers go out to both Josh and the Stjone family for their loss and May God Bless them in this time of tribulation.

  9. Jo says:

    Perhaps some type of platform can be built to keep people from falling very far, if that should happen again? I’d hate to see the players stop throwing baseballs into the crowd, but I can understand it if they stopped doing it. I feel so bad for Mr Stone and his family – especially his little boy. Heartbreaking.

  10. FranklySpeaking says:

    Higher rails, safety nets, whatever! Is anything too much to protect someone’s life? I think not. Whatever needs to be added and done, do it! We can all sit here and argue schematics but nothing will get done. What cost are you willing to put on your or some others life?

  11. brett says:

    Ive been tossed 4 baseballs by players in my life at the ballpark.. Lou Frazier, Gabe Kapler, Mark Texiera and Eddie Guardado.. twice as a kid… and twice as an adult 🙂 This “interaction” with the players is a thrill and something you dont forget. This was a tragic accident and thats all there is to it.

  12. Damita Jo says:

    It’s this kind of story that makes me shake my head in disgust at the media.

Comments are closed.

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