Yesterdays game brought no cheering wins for the Texas Rangers. Instead, players were silent and still trying to cope with watching a fan fall over a 20 foot wall, trying to catch a foul ball that was thrown up to the fans by Texas Ranger left fielder Josh Hamilton. The video of the fall is undoubtedly upsetting and hard to watch.
According to MercuryNews.com “Oakland’s Conor Jackson lined a foul ball into the left-field corner that ricocheted into fair territory. Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton retrieved the ball and tossed it up to a male fan sitting in the first row behind the out-of-town scoreboard that’s built into the left-field wall.” The fan, identified as Brownwood, Texas Resident and Firefighter Shannon Stone, proceeded to catch the ball from over the rail with both of his bare hands. He was able to catch it but must of lost his footing and went over the rail head first onto the concrete below.
When Stone fell a number of A’s players were sitting in the visitor’s bullpen and were shocked at what they saw. Oakland’s Brad Zeigler was pretty shaken up after the incident when he and fellow teammates Joey Devine and Craig Breslow saw Stone being carried out on a stretcher. “He was saying stuff, like, ‘Please check on my son.’ They had his arms splinted. You’re just assuming he was (going to be OK) — he was conscious and talking. To find out he’s not is tough.”
Today, Stone’s wife Suzann spoke to the media and said that her husband had just bought their six year old son Cooper a new glove for Thursday night’s game. Apparently, Texas Ranger Hamilton was Cooper’s favorite player on the team and it had meant so much more to him to catch the ball that Hamilton threw up to Cooper’s father Shannon.
After the game condolences started coming in everywhere from A’s manager Bob Melvin to Ranger’s owner Nolan Ryan. This is the second tragic accident to come out of the Ranger Ballpark as well. Last year, another fan fell from the second level and suffered a pretty bad skull fracture.
The series will continue tonight and I am sure that this accident will also be on the minds of both the players, the fans as well as Ranger Josh Hamilton who is undoubtedly upset and not at all responsible for what happened yesterday. I am sure that we can all agree the Shannon Stone was just doing what any father would do for his child by catching a ball from his favorite player in order to give it to his son.
Swingin A’s would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family of firefighter and Texas Ranger fan Shannon Stone at this very difficult time.