After the death of Ranger’s fan Shannon Stone who fell out of the stands during the July 7 game at Arlington Stadium while trying to catch a ball tossed toward him by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton as well as the Fan that almost went over the railings but was saved from falling 20 feet below at this years All Star Home Run Derby, it comes as no surprise that both the MLB and stadiums around the country will be looking at implementing better or new safety measures be put in place for fans.
I for one agree that the franchises need to do an overview and take whatever means they see fit for their stadiums in order to create a safe environment for their fans. The Rangers have stepped to the plate and are reviewing safety measures at their ballpark. Rangers spokesman John Blake told the Dallas Morning News that the team is meeting with contractors, architects and other industry experts to determine “whether to raise railings or do whatever might be appropriate for the safety of our fans.”
The A’s are also stepping up by paying close attention to their internal monitors and are addressing Coliseum staff regarding the issue. They are making sure that their fans are not getting on or getting to close to the railings in order to catch a ball. They absolutely do not want what happened at the Ranger Ballpark to happen at the Coliseum, especially because a number of A’s players witnessed both the fall and Mr. Stone’s comments regarding the care and concern for his son before he passed away.
On the other side of the bay, the Giants have also addressed safety at AT&T Park. The Senior Vice President of stadium operations, Jorge Costa took the time to address their currents safety measures for fans with his staff. According to Costa both Bay area teams have their own measures in place he then goes on to say, “”But that doesn’t mean we’re completely extricated from worrying about things,” Costa said. “This is something that consumes me and my staff every day. (The Texas) incident was supposed to be a goodwill gesture from player to fan — a good, light moment. Obviously, what happened was the most horrible, worst-case scenario.”
As far as the players are concerned regarding throwing ball up to or at fans, there seems to be a mixed bag reaction on that. A’s reliever Brad Ziegler understands the reaction but has no plans to alter his regular habit of throwing balls into the stands although, his teammate Trevor Cahill thinks otherwise and is now reluctant to throw the ball at his fans. He also enjoys tossing a keepsake into the crowd but has said after what happened in Texas, “ I probably won’t do it for a while.”
Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has also reacted to what happened and he agrees that although it was a tragic accident, he will still support the players that want to throw the ball to fans. He is asking though that each team take a look at their ballparks and stadiums and shore up those areas if needed where fans are vulnerable to going over the railings.
I know as a soon to be parent of two children I am definitely going to think about where I sit at the A’s games. I don’t want to make it seems that it is bad to sit by the railings on the second and third levels, but for me, I would rather be safe than sorry.