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More details on the death of Shannon Stone

Jul 8, 2011, 8:26 AM EDT

General view shows area where fan was seriously injured after falling over railing in outfield bleachers while trying to catch ball in Arlington

More details are available this morning on the death that occurred at the Ballpark at Arlington last night. The man’s name was Shannon Stone. He was a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas and, sadly, as preliminary reports noted, he was at the game with his young son, who watched the accident happen.

According to this Associated Press report, Stone was conscious after his fall, but went into cardiac arrest soon afterward and was pronounced dead within the hour.

After the game, Nolan Ryan gave a statement:

“We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball. As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we’re very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

As we figured last night, Ryan said that Josh Hamilton was “very distraught,” as is the rest of the team and the Oakland A’s as well.

Last year another fan fell at a Rangers game, suffering serious though non-fatal injuries. During the stadium’s first game in 1994, another fan fell, also suffering serious injuries. It’s premature for anyone to talk about whether there are any fundamental issues with that ballpark or if these accidents were merely coincidental, and Ryan wouldn’t discuss that last night.  It’s certainly the case, however, that such accidents aren’t confined to Arlington. In May a fan fell to his death at Coors Field while attempting to slide down a stairway railing.  Each year, it seems, there are one or two deaths at ballparks due to falls.

But after the shock wears off, such an analysis is in order. And, as always, fans should remember that ballparks are just like anyplace else: accidents can happen and one needs to be careful.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Jul 8, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    As I said in the ATH thread, this is such a tragedy. I feel so bad for the little boy and his family. Josh Hamilton must be feeling horrible. I watched the fall once and will not do so again.

    It’s a sad day in baseball.

  2. flaviusflav - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    This is very sad, but I hope it doesn’t lead to an overreaction by MLB in which they ban players from tossing balls into the seats.

  3. reds37win - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Is there any reason not to have the gap between the stands and the scoreboard filled in to prevent such an accident? Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice…?

    • pmcenroe - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:11 AM

      I know a lot of the stadiums built in the 90′s created those gaps to prevent fan interference (with some the newer stadiums using flower beds to fill the gaps) not sure what it looks like all around the ballpark in Arlington but seeing the photo above maybe the can do something like they have in RF in Cleveland…

      • pmcenroe - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/2010/05/05/5310-at-progressive-field/

    • hystoracle - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      Does seem like some kind of boarding or something could have helped. – looking at the pic posted here.

  4. deathmonkey41 - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Is this the second or third fan to die from a fall at a game this year?

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM

      I get two thumbs down for asking if this was the second or third fatality from a fall at a game this year? Okay…

    • Lukehart80 - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      The thumbs down may be there because this very point is addressed by Craig in the post.

      • Old Gator - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        The thumbs up-down is a chickenshit way to comment. Might as well be able to post razzberries and farting noises. Get rid of them. If you have an opinion about what someone writes or how they write it, come on here and explain yourself. This is supposed to be a conversation.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        I agree Gator. I said the same thing the other day. If you are going to thumbs down at least reply with your dissenting opinion so that debate can ensue. Of course some comments that fall under the criteria Craig listed in the other thread are exceptions to that rule.

      • marshmallowsnake - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        Farting noises would be rather cool!

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM

        I saw the part about the other fall at the Rangers park, but missed the part about the Coors field fatality. I think I thought it was a Padres game and was looking for that.

  5. thopper15 - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Tragic. It probably wasn’t the fall that directly caused the cardiac arrest though. He very likely had an existing heart condition. Possibly without even knowing about it. The same thing happened to my son, he was hiking through the woods and collapsed, luckily he was with friends that did CPR until help came.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      Sorry to hear about your son. Glad he pulled through though. On a different note, you think that him falling 20+ feet and the ensuing cardiac arrest are independent events?

      • thopper15 - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        No, my thought is that if he indeed had a pre-existing heart condition (known or not) then the fall started a chain reaction of events that led to his death.

        I don’t know the facts of the case but my feeling is that he had a condition (probably something similar to what I have – Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy). The fall probably wouldn’t have killed an otherwise healthy person. It would have caused injuries but not likely death. I feel that in this case, from all I’ve heard, the fall instigated a cardiac event

      • thopper15 - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Regardless of what the cause was, it is definitely sad and tragic. I hope that MLB and the Texas Rangers do something for this guy’s son and family.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        Ok, fair enough. You make an extremely valid point.

    • callastats - Jul 9, 2011 at 5:32 AM

      So a healthy person who falls 20+ feet and suffers a severe head injury shouldn’t go into cardiac arrest unless there was a pre existing heart condition? FYI…A head bleed WITHOUT a heart condition can cause a cardiac arrest. And just because the cardiac arrest didn’t happen immediately does not mean it wasn’t caused by the fall.

  6. sepresley71 - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    I am an old friend and classmate of Shannon. I have known the man for 35 years, ever since we were in Kindergarten and elementary school together, running in the same group of friends. My fellow Cleburne High Class of 1990 classmates and I are all devastated by the loss of our brother.

    Shannon was a funny and well liked member of our class. He had a fun-loving way about him. The way he walked and talked, his outlook, everything about him made it impossible to not like him.

    The tragedy touches so many people, be it those who knew and know him and those who did not. The players at the game, the fans at the game, especially in that section, surely are feeling the same grief we are today.

    Our prayers go out to the Stone family. We love and will miss him terribly but we know he is home and we look forward to seeing him again.

    • Old Gator - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Condolences on the loss of your friend. I’m sure you’ll all be there to help his little boy get past this, insofar as one ever does.

      • sepresley71 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM

        We will Gator and I thank you for your condolences. We have something in works right now.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      Seriously, who gives this a thumbs down?

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        There are so many possibilities here. dirtyharry1971…cup0pizza…. Maybe purdueman is still lurking?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        Some people are just miserable trolls whose sole purpose in life is rain misery down on others. I don’t understand it myself but they are out there. Also, where have you been Utley’s hair and welcome back.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Thanks. I’ve been trying to work through some unexpected personal issues. I’ve been lurking and making sporadic comments here and there, but I haven’t felt much like getting into long-winded conversations.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Yeah, I know all about personal issues and personal tragedy. Last thing you want to do is get into arguments on message boards about things that are suddenly rather insignificant. Hope things work out for you with whatever the problems may be.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        Whoever gave me a thumbs down here, I also don’t like having to hash through these personal issues. Thanks for the support.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      As with the Stow family, the boy and his family are in the thoughts and prayers of the HBT rank and file.

  7. Chipmaker - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Damn, what a tragedy.

    When The Ballpark opened in 1994, the left field wall was a mechanical scoreboard. Team employees would be in the space to change the various AL game info tiles. That’s gone now, it’s a giant telescreen. If nothing else, the Rangers should install a strong net or screen over the gap.

    The 1994 fall happened after the game. I was at that game, though nowhere near the incident area and did not see it happen. Fans were leaving, and the woman perched atop a rail at the front of the right field second deck, and fell. That led to some parts of rails (mainly at the bottom of stairways) being raised — the rail height was designed to improve the view of front row fans — but not everywhere.

    I have no meaningful words to describe how dismal this feels. I’ve sat in left field at The Ballpark, I know the allure of catching a ball, and I have children. A grand day for the Stones collapsed into tragedy; it’s just wrong. Shannon Stone is gone. A day at the ballgame should never be like this. All I have is the hope that the Stone son someday finds that baseball can heal more powerfully than it can hurt, even against this extreme incident, and remember that his daddy was surely going to hand him that ball, and died thinking of and loving him.

  8. cubbiesbp - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    This one is as bad as it gets. From everything I read, seems like he was a stand-up guy. Father takes he son to a game, and you know they were looking forward to it for probably awhile. What a proud moment that was going to be, catching a ball at a big league game and handing it to his son. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking….makes every father out there hurt to some degree. This is one that will keep you awake at night. That poor kid, feel so bad for him in the picture looking down at his dad after the fall. His last moment with his dad was a second before that with his hat, shirt, and glove on. You know he was so excited to go to that game with his hero. God Bless to SS and his son and their family.

  9. indaburg - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    My deepest condolences to the Stone family and to that little boy who lost his daddy. I just don’t understand why stuff like this happens. I just don’t. A firefighter, one of the good guys. Man, life sucks sometimes.

  10. king3319 - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Sepresley…my condolences…thoughts and prayers to the family..as said before this man was one of the good guys…a hero!!! Life sucks sometimes is right!!! And welcome back utley…hope your life turns for the better!!!

  11. chief5675 - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    It’s only a freakin ball- from guys who scratch themselves and spit for 3 hours during every game- Who freakin needs that? High school dropouts are heroes? Grow up America.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:09 AM

      I’ll repost a comment I made earlier ( http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/08/comment-of-the-day-remembering-shannon-stone/ ), though, based on your douchey tone, I doubt it will make any difference to you.

      It has little to do with getting a ball. It has more to do with a favorite player of yours or a player on your favorite team giving you a souvenir. It’s like you have their attention for a split second. And they give it to you as you’re there at a ballgame with your dad…or your mom…or another family member or friend. It’s more symbolic of the time than anything else.

  12. bhplayon - Jul 9, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    I see some good in a lot of the comments, but some of them make me think the world has already gone to hell. What is wrong with people? I feel sorry for all involved in this tragedy.

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