Fan dies after fall from Rangers Ballpark stands
FS SOUTHWEST STAFF
July 7, 2011
Rangers team president Nolan Ryan gives a brief statement regarding a fan's tragic death.
ARLINGTON, Texas — A fan died Thursday night after falling about 20 feet from the stands behind the left-field scoreboard at Rangers Ballpark while trying to catch a baseball tossed his way.
The fan was identified as Shannon Stone, 39, of Brownwood, Texas, by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. Stone was a veteran firefighter in Brownwood, according to a report on the town's website.
The Texas Rangers released a statement after the incident was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.
"We are deeply saddened that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said in the statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
The fall happened at about 7:30 p.m. CT, after Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed a ball into the stands during the second inning after a foul ball hit by Oakland's Conor Jackson ricocheted into left field.
Stone “went into full (cardiac) arrest” in an ambulance en route to an area hospital, the Arlington Fire Department said in a statement. He was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m. CT, less than an hour after the accident.
Fan Ronnie Hargis was sitting in the stands next to Stone, who was at the game with his son, according to a report from The Associated Press and confirmed by the AFD.
"He went straight down," Hargis told AP. "I tried to grab him, but I couldn't. I tried to slow him down a little bit."
The Comcast Bay Area broadcast of the game showed a replay of the fall, in which Stone went head first over the left-field railing. AP reported that Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler was in tears when he found out after the game that Stone had died. The visitor's bullpen at Rangers Ballpark is in left-center field. ''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,' '' Ziegler told AP. ''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.''
Safawna Dunn, who was sitting behind Stone, told AP he looked to have arm injuries and was conscious when taken away by paramedics. ''Josh Hamilton tried to throw (the ball) up to the guy because they were yelling for the ball,'' Dunn told AP. Hamilton and the other Rangers were understandably upset about Stone's death, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
"We spoke to the ballclub," Ryan told the Star-Telegram, "so they understood what had happened, and we spoke to Josh. . . . As any of us would be, Josh is very distraught over this, as the entire team is."
It is the second fatal fall
at a MLB ballpark this season, AP reported. In May, a 27-year-old man died after he fell about 20 feet and struck his head on concrete at a Colorado Rockies game. Witnesses told police the man had been trying to slide down a staircase railing at Coors Field and lost his balance.
Stone is the second fan at Rangers Ballpark to fall from the stands in the past 12 months.
Tyler Morris, a firefighter from Corinth, Texas, fractured his skull and sprained an ankle after falling 30 feet from the second deck last July.
Ryan told AP it was too early to talk about the two accidents and how the Rangers will evaluate the stadium's safety.
''Tonight, we're not prepared to speak about anything further than the accident and the tragedy,'' Ryan told AP. ''That's where I'm going to leave it."
FOXSports.com's A.J. Perez and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Fan dies after fall from Rangers Ballpark stands