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Rangers Fan Shannon Stone Dies After Fall From Ballpark

Baseball fans
Fans often risk bodily harm when trying to catch a baseball at a game. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

It was a sad night in baseball when we learned about Shannon Stone’s death after falling 20 feet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Stone, a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas for more than 18 years, was with his young son in the left field seats to watch the Texas Rangers and the Oakland A’s. In the 2nd inning, when Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton fielded a foul ball and tossed it up in Stone’s direction. The firefighter made the catch but in the process, lost his balance and plunged headfirst over the railing 20 feet toward the concrete. Despite being conscious after the fall, Stone later died from his injuries.

It’s the second time this season a fan has died after failing over the railing at a major baseball game. Baseball players like Hamilton have been throwing balls into the stands forever. Those souvenir moments can become great stories that are passed down from generation to generation. It is easy to see how a fan can get so caught up in the moment of catching a ball from a baseball star that they lose their balance and suffer a horrific, even deadly injury. Despite last night’s tragedy, I hope baseball does not institute a new policy, prohibiting players to toss balls into the stands. It is one of the reasons why the game has such a strong connection with its fans.

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