The Texas Rangers announced they will raise the height of the rails at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as part of new safety initiatives at the facility following the death of fan Shannon Stone.
Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, fell over the railing in left-center July 7 as he attempted to catch a ball thrown by outfielder Josh Hamilton. The drop was about 20 feet, and Stone died from injuries sustained in the fall.
The Rangers said that despite the fact the rails exceed safety code, they are raising the heights of all rails in the front row of seating to "the highest standard in the United States at this time," according to the club's release.
"The safety of our fans is our top priority," said Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan, who was released from the hospital Tuesday after undergoing tests that determined there were no new developments in the recurrence of a previous heart condition. "The initiatives we are announcing today for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will help to ensure that we meet that priority."
While the work is being completed, the Rangers also have added signage and new rules for fans. Signs reading: "Do not lean, sit on, or stand against rail" will be installed (in all capital letters) on the railings in front of all outfield seating and on all upper-level seating, including the two suite levels.
The club will make pregame announcements on the public address system and on the scoreboard reminding fans of these initiatives, and there will be security and customer-service staff watching fans near the rails to enforce the policy.
The team will address the changes at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.
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