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Cooper Stone throws out the first pitch before Game 1

Sep 30, 2011, 11:43 PM EDT

Cooper Stone, Josh Hamilton AP

6-year-old Cooper Stone, the son of the firefighter who died falling out of the stands at Rangers Ballpark on July 7, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday’s ALDS Game 1 against the Rays.

It was Stone’s first trip back to park since he attended the game at which his father, Shannon, died.  Wearing a Josh Hamilton jersey, Cooper got to throw the pitch to his favorite player crouched about halfway to home plate and threw a perfect strike.

“They have turned a difficult return to The Ballpark into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cooper,” widow Jenny Stone said in a statement issued by the team. “Nothing could be more exciting for a boy than throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player. We are glad and grateful to be here to see the Rangers start their march to the World Series.”

Hamilton was the player who tossed the ball into stands when Shannon Stone was killed.  He got to meet both Cooper and Jenny for the first time today.

“The Lord gave me words at the right time,” he said. “I’m not good with speeches. Not good with knowing what I’m going to say before. Because I rehearse it too much and it don’t sound genuine. So I just kind of let it happen. It worked out good. … You could tell she was really emotional about coming back to the park. The little one, he’s young enough where he understands but at the same time it’s not as emotional for him as it is mom.”

The Rangers are erecting a statue of Shannon and Cooper that is set to be revealed next season.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    This was proper. Good for the little boy throwing out the ball. Very well done.

    However, the statue thing to me is way overblown. It should not be done. A tragic accident should not be enshrined in bronze/stone. Thumb me down if you want, but that’s the truth.

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:07 AM

      I dunno man. It could have been any one of us crazy ass ball fans, y’know? You’da done it. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have; leaned way out there for a ball thrown by your kid’s favorite player? Hell yes. I’da done it, too. No question.

      That statue thing is like a statue for all us stupid fools who’d want that ball for our kids or our nephews/nieces or even the kid in the stand behind us. Why? Because we want our kids, and every kid, to like baseball. Because, trust me on this, when they don’t, you are alone to watch those games. Thank the gods for foul balls, the kindness of baseball players, live blogs, chat rooms and the arm muscles of Philly pitchers. When I go there I’m going to stop at that statue and look at it for a little bit. I’d like to think I’d have got along great with that guy. Like I do with lots of other baseball fans, in fact.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        Cur, I see what you are saying, I really do. However, this is not an incident that should be statue worthy. The only reason the Rangers are doing this is because it is a good PR move. Nothing more. They had a terrible thing happen in that ballpark. There is no denying that. However, enshrining this man and boy at the ballpark is ridiculous. Bad things happen everyday in life and you don’t see statues put up. Statues should only be reserved for fallen soldiers, great world leaders and sports legends. That’s it. Mr. Stone, respectfully, doesn’t fit that criteria, does he?

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:23 AM

        Statues should be reserved for war heros and athletes? Tha’st a pretty big gap in there!
        The Rangers are building the statue of Shannon and his son to honor their fans and using his likeness as the face for it. It’s for more than just him, as the Rangers have made pretty clear. And why not use him? He lost his life taking his son to the ballpark to enjoy the Rangers. If their statue serves the dual purpose of honoring the family of a man who tragically died in a freak accident…what’s the problem with that? Bad things happen every day in life, but it doesn’t mean we can’t honor those who had bad things happen to them.

      • cur68 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:25 AM

        HB: you’ve all over this blog wanting more American kids playing ball. What better tribute to a fire fighter, a dad, a baseball fan who lost his life trying to pass that along? What should we put up statues of? Politicians? Got thousands. War heros? Yep, got lots of those, too. Famous people? Yep, more than I can count. Fictional characters? Hell yes. Of all them, which one’s are more worthy?

        Shannon Stone is at least as worthy as many of them and quite a bit more than most. At least. The incident is tragic. But what he was doing there when it happened isn’t. The man himself wasn’t. His reasons for trying to grab that ball weren’t. The fact is, he’s like us; guys who’d stay up late on a rain out to talk ball, because we care about it that much. Cared about it so much we’d probably have done the same thing. I’m glad for the statue.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:32 AM

        thefalcon123 and cur68,

        Right. I’m wrong once again. I guess I’m too ridiculous with what I say. Build a statue for everyone. I don’t care. Society on this kind of P.C. stuff has gone down the shitter.

      • cur68 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:41 AM

        We disagree, it’s not necessarily right or wrong. Some things are not absolute, ok? I’m not so sure of stuff as you HB, that’s why I ask questions all the time. I don’t know about “PC” & “The Shitter”. All I do know is I’d have tried to catch that damn ball. Just like lots of people.To me it’s a recognition of a person trying to do a cool thing for his kid. Full stop. To you I guess it’s some crass over blown commercial crap. I prefer my version and I prefer the Rangers for doing what I like to think I might have done had I been in their position. We don’t have to agree or even agree to disagree, but you are not going to change how prefer to view it and, unless someone connected to Mr.Stone puts forth that your view os the correct one, then I shall continue to believe what I’d prefer to believe.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:50 AM

        cur, if you believe that there should be a statue built for this guy, OK. I’m not going to debate it any longer. You believe what you believe. You are entitled to your opinion.

    • miketreedy - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:42 AM

      At first I thought having a statue might be a little more than what was needed considering it was a tragic accident. But really the statue is a tribute to life and the moments we all have and share. It a symbol of what going to a baseball game is all about not just who wins or loses the games, how many tickets were sold or how much a player made. It is about taking advantage of the time we have together. In N. Texas people hold this family in their hearts and want to honor the reason the dad and son where at the game together. The moment he wanted to share with his son. The Rangers and this community have done lots to help this family and its been a great thing to see happen.

    • nixonotis - Oct 1, 2011 at 1:08 AM

      If Philadelphia can put up a statue of Rocky Balboa, the Rangers can put up a statue of Shannon Stone.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:12 AM

        You are a friggin moron. I thought you changed with your bullshit comments earlier. I was wrong. Yeah, equate a statue of this man to a movie prop. You are a pathetic loser.

      • nocryinginbaseball07 - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:58 AM

        Although I haven’t seen the movie in years, every time I hear the Rocky theme I want to run up the art museum steps. I think that the similarity between the Rocky statue and the proposed Stone statue might be that both honor the human spirit, and the part of all of us that looks for immortality through our sports heroes. Sorry, I’d better stop before I start quoting “Field of Dreams”!

      • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 1, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        I hope this will help the kid. As far as the statue – one element that people overlook is that this statue is a mute reminder to be careful at the ballpark (and everywhere else) all our lives hang by a thread.
        Halladay’s comments mark him as the kid standing by himself because he has a load in his pants – phewww! I’m going to move – it smells bad here!

    • indaburg - Oct 1, 2011 at 7:33 AM

      I see what you’re saying, hb, but it seems like you’re seeing the statue on very literal terms. At face value, because they will be using the likeness of the Coopers, it appears the Rangers are merely commemorating the tragedy. What the others are saying is that it is not about that. Figuratively, it is meant to represent every dad (and mom) who plays catch with their kid and who brings their kid to the game in the hopes of passing on this great sport to the next generation. That’s as American and traditional as you can get, and they’re ain’t nothing PC about that.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      I’m with biceps on this one. My heart breaks for this man and his family, but a hero is someone who does something heroic, not just someone who dies tragically. There are lots of “heroic” fans out there who share their love of the game in different ways–how about the parents who save to take one special ballpark outing per year, or those who make sure their elderly parents/grandparents get to a game. You don’t have to chase a ball to be a fan.

      • miketreedy - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        I didn’t know there had to be be so many rules on there being statue. How’s this: The Ranger own the park, they wanted it, the fans like it and we are done.

  2. thefalcon123 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    It shows the immense class of the Rangers organization for doing this. Outside of a statement regretting the loss of Shannon’s life in the terrible accident, they didn’t have to do anything. Instead, they decided to do what little they could to make his wife and son a part of the Rangers family. Kudos!

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:30 AM

      Man they could ignored this 2 days after it happened and never mentioned it again. Instead, they went completely the other way. Someone on the Rangers is really cool and a true baseball fan. Who ever you are, tip O’Jays cap to ya.

  3. barklikeadog - Oct 1, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    Are they going to mark the ‘landing spot’ also? Seems as worthy as the statue.

    • Old Gator - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      Comments like that cross over into cup0pizza swampland – probably something catching, spread by sharing a Kleenex™ or tampon.

  4. Charles Gates - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    I may be wrong about the exact amount, but they mentioned that the railings will be raised by (or to?) 41 inches around the park. I would like to hear what other teams are evaluating their stadiums’ safety as well.

  5. roycethebaseballhack - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    1) The folks in Milwaukee put a statue in front of Miller Park honoring the six guys who got killed in the accident during construction. By all accounts, the people of Milwaukee like it. They were just guys doing their job who we lost in a tragic accident.

    2) The Ballpark is a very family-friendly place. The park is swimming in little kids for every game. In our section, it is easily one kid for every two adults- easy. Drunks leaning over the walls yelling f-bombs and being obnoxious are dealt with by security pretty swiftly. The Arlington police have a very strong presence in and around the stadium for every game. You can have fun, but they go to great cost and effort to keep the place what it is; a kind of oasis of angst ( except, of course, when they pull Darren Oliver out of the bullpen in late innings….). My point is this; I think the statue of Mr. Stone and his son is geared more for being a tribute to the idea of the investment of our family. A message speaking to the importance of your kids, and what you do with them. Like, the idea of going to the ballpark to see your baseball heroes work in nine innings and try to win. Shannon Stone’s death rattled this area badly- even people who don’t even like baseball still talk about it, here. It will be fitting and appropriate. I expect it will be something people here go out of their way to see when they come to Arlington for any reason.

  6. Old Gator - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    cup0pizza – with the beaucoup appropriate zero in the middle of his name – the stereotypical internet dumbsquat is back. Gee, that’s a waste of pixels. For a while there, we were hopeful that you had migrated over to the Beavis and Butthead blog and gotten stranded.

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