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Rangers Defend Tossing Baseballs To Fans

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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.

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