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Texas Rangers Fan Dies After Fall
July 8, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone dies following a 20-foot fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas while trying to catch a foul ball. Stone's 6-year-old son was in attendance and witnessed the fall. The death comes months after another ballpark fatality at Coors Field in Denver. (VIDEO).
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo (72 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
They showed the video at least 8 times on a short segment on one of the morning shows, and showed it at every news roundup, and before several commercial breaks. I'm so sorry for his son and family.
posted by theora55 at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is sad news. I cannot bring myself to click the video link.

I also feel bad for Josh Hamilton (the player who tossed the ball up there for the fans to grab). TFA says that he says he's fine, but I would be beating myself up over this if I were him.
posted by King Bee at 8:37 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correction, TFA says he's "very distraught", but man. I'd be completely unable to do anything.
posted by King Bee at 8:37 AM on July 8, 2011


@Think_Long It wasn't intended to be exploitative, and I'm sorry if it came across that way.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2011


Poor little kid.
posted by Moistener at 8:40 AM on July 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I think it's got to be tough on Josh.

One of the pitchers for the A's was really upset as well.
posted by Fister Roboto at 8:40 AM on July 8, 2011


I certainly hope after all that Josh Hamilton has been through, he is able to put this behind him as the freak accident it was. It was not his fault and I would hate to see it affect him personally or his performance.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:44 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why is there a 20 foot drop in front of the stands into that alleyway? Seems needlessly dangerous.
posted by jewzilla at 8:46 AM on July 8, 2011


The ESPN article says the ball was tossed his way, not that it was a foul ball - even more tragic with what must be tremendous guilt in the mind of whoever tossed the ball that way.
posted by exogenous at 8:47 AM on July 8, 2011


As I've gotten older, I find I cannot watch any "faces of death" style video either, but do not begrudge those who do.

Tragic story all around, and one that has some interesting issues. I always try to put myself in my kids' shoes when imagining how they perceive events, but this one is almost inconceivable. Poor, poor kid. Poor Josh Hamilton, too, but he will get over it.

Also, before anyone snarkier gets there first, I do kinda want to say that baseball fans (of which I'm certainly one) care too much about souvenirs, but this incident seems more akin to slipping on my porch and flipping over the railing to fall 30 feet onto concrete.

It was quite a buzzkill this morning on the john, surfing sports scores to see how my fantasy players did. "Hm, I wonder how Kinsler did last night against the A's ... oh good god ... aw ... hm ... ... 2/4 with a bb, double, and run. i'll take that."

The accident occurred in the second inning. I personally think they should have suspended the game, but I don't pay the groundscrew, vendors, etc.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:48 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I fully admit I know nothing about baseball or stadium construction, but would it not make sense to have some kind of horizontal netting in areas where the risk of falling one's death is greater than usual? I guess that might endanger more fans by encouraging them to climb out onto it, though.
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on July 8, 2011


Josh Hamilton tossed the foul ball up after he retrieved it. I did watch the video, and the guy did not appear to really lean way out to catch the toss. It looked like maybe he slipped a little and the railing was at exactly the right hight to teeter-totter him over. At 20 feet he must have hit just right, as people survive that kind of fall everyday.

Truly just a freak accident - so sorry for the kid and family. And I hope this doesn't push Hamilton over the edge back into substance abuse. He is a recovering addict.
posted by COD at 8:52 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I hope this doesn't push Hamilton over the edge

I see what you did there....
posted by chavenet at 8:57 AM on July 8, 2011


I worked part-time at a AAA ball field. No 20 foot drops in evidence, but places where the public can walk onto a low concrete wall from the lawn "seating" and, if no one caught them, walk out to where it becomes a HIGH concrete wall, constant temptations for the kids to lean over the wall, dancers who worked for the team organization getting out on the concrete dugout cover and doing skits, etc. Then it was our job to keep the patrons (especially kids) from so much as touching the wall...
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2011


It sounds like he did survive the fall, he was conscious and talking as they wheeled him out and concerned abut his son. Apparently he died later as a result of internal injuries.
posted by drinkcoffee at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2011


This seems to happen about once a year in the major leagues. Strangely enough it happened in Ranger Stadium almost exactly a year ago, but that guy survived. This guy in Atlanta in 2008 never had a chance, it sounds like. A bit of googling shows it happens in pretty much any stadium sporting event from time to time, not just baseball. I am only speculating, but perhaps safety devices like nets would decrease the amount of available seating or impede some views.
posted by TedW at 8:59 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The accident occurred in the second inning. I personally think they should have suspended the game

I'm guessing they probably didn't know he died until later. It looks like he went into cardiac arrest during transport.

@Think_Long It wasn't intended to be exploitative, and I'm sorry if it came across that way.

I didn't think it was intended as exploitative, but I can see how it could come off as insensitive. The all-caps "VIDEO" is a little "in my face."

At 20 feet he must have hit just right, as people survive that kind of fall everyday.

That's really the weird thing. I didn't get into the reports, but it seems like he was injured but relatively OK when he left the stadium.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:00 AM on July 8, 2011


Apparently, this isn't unheard of. According to Death at the Ballpark, A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities, 1862-2007:
Fans falling resulted in 15 fatalities at major league games and one at a minor league game.
posted by zamboni at 9:03 AM on July 8, 2011


There's a A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities??? I mean, ok, sure, and it actually would be interesting especially for such a 'mild' sport, but wow.

On the original death ... I don't believe in making everything perfectly safe, but one would think railings would be high enough that more then a simple lean over would be required to fall over.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nope. Both arms were badly injured, as was his head. He must have lost too much blood or seriously injured his head.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2011


Death at The Ballpark has a blog. There have already been three baseball related deaths this year.
posted by zamboni at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2011


From the first link:

"Former president George W. Bush was sitting in the front row with Ryan near the Rangers when the accident happened. Ryan left moments later while Bush remained in the seats.

Ryan said the former president, who is a frequent visitor to Rangers Ballpark, was aware of what was happening."

posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:12 AM on July 8, 2011


And I hope this doesn't push Hamilton over the edge

I see what you did there....


That was not intentional. I'm not that clever.
posted by COD at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2011


Strangely enough it happened in Ranger Stadium almost exactly a year ago, but that guy survived

Too bad they didn't use that as an opportunity to put up extra safeguards around the stadium. Very sad story.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:18 AM on July 8, 2011


"Seamans was declared brain dead on Wednesday, about 12 hours after the incident. A transplant team was called in to harvest his organs, Elliott said." What the hell? Does that seem needlessly macabre to anyone else?
posted by Jibuzaemon at 9:18 AM on July 8, 2011


This is a tragic event, and all my thoughts go out to his family.

But I really hope this does not start a wave of "omg make the stadiums safer!!!" The stadiums are already very safe, and sure, raising the railings to 10' high and putting netting all over the place and having every person wear a personal airbag will make things safer, but at the expense of enjoying the game experience.
posted by eas98 at 9:20 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ban baseball. Everyone's happy.
posted by LordSludge at 9:22 AM on July 8, 2011


"Seamans was declared brain dead on Wednesday, about 12 hours after the incident. A transplant team was called in to harvest his organs, Elliott said." What the hell? Does that seem needlessly macabre to anyone else?

Needlessly macabre to harvest his organs? Or to mention that it was done? Presumably he was an organ donor.
posted by dfan at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


There seem to be more comments in internet threads like this worrying about Josh Hamilton and how this might impact him than there are about Shannon Stone's six-year-old son. It's just heartbreaking to think about how this happened, especially within the context of a baseball game being the stereotypical father/son bonding experience. As much as I like and sympathize with Josh Hamilton, his worries kind of pale in comparison to those of a child helplessly witnessing his father slip to his death while trying to snag a keepsake for the kid to remember their special time together.

Just thinking about that makes me tear up a little.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


I think there should be higher railings. If you look at the photos of where he fell from, the railing is about thigh high. I understand you have to be able to see over them when you're sitting, but it seems like they should be higher than that.

Another idea might be to have the top of the railing curve inwards, thus possibly deflecting someone who is falling back into the bleachers. Anyway, the fact that fans have fallen at the same ballpark twice in two years make my bells ring a little bit.
posted by Fister Roboto at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2011


There seem to be more comments in internet threads like this worrying about Josh Hamilton

I count two in this thread, one of which is preceded by "I also feel bad for"
posted by setanor at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sort of reminds me of the incident in Columbus, OH where a young fan at a hockey game died of a puck to the head. The defenseman who shot the puck was inconsolable (even though it was deflected by another player's stick), and that tragic event precipitated a requirement that netting be installed in every NHL arena.

Now, I don't know if every ballpark needs to make a change. But, I imagine that the Texas Rangers might want to tweak the barrier height in that area, just a little.
posted by Citrus at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2011


> There seem to be more comments in internet threads like this worrying about Josh Hamilton and how this might impact him than there are about Shannon Stone's six-year-old son.

My comment above was supposed to be more like "also consider the fact that the ball was tossed up there by someone who now probably feels responsible for something terrible that isn't really his fault, and this adds to my overall sad feelings for Stone's family and especially the son".

It's a tragedy all around, anyway you slice it.
posted by King Bee at 9:30 AM on July 8, 2011


I think there should be higher railings.

If you make them any higher, you'll start obstructing views for the first rows of seats. The better solution would be to make the railings more resistant to people being able to go over them (e.g. the inward curved rail you suggested).

The thing I don't get is why there was no net over the gap between the scoreboard and the the stands. If there were, he would have lived.
posted by dw at 9:31 AM on July 8, 2011


I guess TV shows have given me an unrealistic idea of what happens during a cardiac event. I had thought that if you were conscious and talking beforehand and were actually in the care of medical professionals when experiencing one, you were pretty much guaranteed to survive. (There are obviously exceptions, but that seemed like the general rule of thumb.)

I just feel devastated when I imagine what the son might be feeling and thinking. Attending a baseball game together is one of those things I never got to do with my own dad, and which I'm therefore greatly looking forward to doing with my own son. To experience a loss like this in what should be such a special moment...I don't even have the words.

And, Jebus, Josh Hamilton...so much sadness all around. This is one of those times where I ask any divine being out there that might have an interest in human affairs and wants us all to experience love and happiness to please send some peace to all those involved with this event.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:38 AM on July 8, 2011


Sorry, one more thing: regarding Josh Hamilton.. sure he's going to feel bad, but I really don't hope he feels in any way responsible, because it's not his fault for tossing the ball towards a fan and some other guy lunges over to try and steal it away. If he had tossed it at the dad and the dad leans forward and falls, then ok that's one thing. I feel terribly for the kid but you see dads like this at ball games all the time.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2011


There seem to be more comments in internet threads like this worrying about Josh Hamilton and how this might impact him...

Hoping that a recovering drug addict and alcoholic is not overly impacted by his accidental role in this man's death ‚Ȇ¬†minimizing the tragedy of this event to the child. This seems like a strange criticism; they're not mutually exclusive. It's obviously a tragic thing that happened and the victim's family will no doubt bear the brunt of it. It's less obvious, and worth pointing out, that Hamilton has had a tough time, including a relapse a couple of years ago, and I and others simply hope this event doesn't push him into a dark place.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:46 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


it would be a great story to hear years from now if Josh Hamilton took it upon himself to be a surrogate father to this kid, might help them both heal a little. Hamilton has to deal with the guilt of throwing the ball too shallow and the kid is going to have to deal with the guilt of his father dying while trying to catch a ball for him.
posted by any major dude at 9:47 AM on July 8, 2011


It does seem like the feverish dives for foul balls/souvenirs (driven by the amount of money you can get for selling them?) cause an awful lot of injuries, fights, lawsuits, and in this case, death.

Would stadium owners and teams have the spine to, say, put up high transparent netting like you get around golf courses that make it essentially impossible for balls to accidentally get in the stands, as well as forbid players to throw them?
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


emjaybee, ballplayers used to rarely throw balls into the stands prior to the 1994 strike. I believe MLB made it an unwritten policy after that strike for players to take every chance to toss a ball to a fan in order to get back the fan's good graces.
posted by any major dude at 9:52 AM on July 8, 2011


But I really hope this does not start a wave of "omg make the stadiums safer!!!" The stadiums are already very safe, and sure, raising the railings to 10' high and putting netting all over the place and having every person wear a personal airbag will make things safer, but at the expense of enjoying the game experience.

So, I took two of my kids, both under age 8, to the Dodgers game earlier this week. We sat in Row B of the section above the luxury boxes ($3 tickets! Woohoo!). I don't go to a ton of games, but I do go to three or four at least per season. And I won't sit - especially with my kids - in Row A. Why? Because the railing is not only ridiculously low, but it also has massive gaps in it big enough for a 5-year-old to simply fall through under the railing if he's horsing around even a little bit. This week, a guy in the row in front of us decided, after several beers, that he needed to get up and go somewhere. And when he did, he climbed over his seat and fell over backwards toward the railing, his life saved only because his buddies caught him.

There is absolutely no reason for the stadium not to be safer than that. None. So yeah, omg make the stadiums safer!! And if you disagree with me on that point, you're either uninformed or an idiot.
posted by The World Famous at 9:59 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look, I won't comment anymore here but I just want to say, I feel I have an extremely logical and realistic view of the world and although I made a joke about this, I was not intending to trivialize the childs trauma. It's not like this is the only tragic death that has occurred in the world today, because if we had video of every single one, I guess the entire world would shut down for a month to cry about it. People are dying everywhere and that's how life is. I feel terrible for the kid BECAUSE his father was selfish, and I'm stunned I was the first/only person in this thread to note that the father DID NOT fall because he was catching a ball for his son. He fell because he tried to lunge in front of the guy who would have naturally caught it.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:59 AM on July 8, 2011


[Some comments removed, cut it out.]
posted by cortex at 10:06 AM on July 8, 2011


There's a A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities??? I mean, ok, sure, and it actually would be interesting especially for such a 'mild' sport, but wow.

It's baseball, which does stats on everything.

I accidentally saw the footage on the news this morning, when I glanced up at the TV (the sound was muted) to see if traffic and weather had come on yet. I couldn't look away and I wish I could unsee it.

He fell because he tried to lunge in front of the guy who would have naturally caught it.


Hundreds of fans do this at games every day, and most of the time, nobody dies or gets hurt. He made a risk calculation that a lot of people make and everything turns out fine. In this case, it didn't turn out fine at all. Doesn't make the guy a jerk, just human.

It's an awful thing that happened.
posted by rtha at 10:07 AM on July 8, 2011


I don't see it that way, ReeMonster. That is the normal friendly competition for a ball I would see at any game, whether foul ball or tossed.

What a tragedy. What a senseless tragedy. Judging from that video there absolutely could have been a mechanism put in place to block that drop, in my opinion.

What a horrible thing for the child, the spectators, and for the ballplayer.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:07 AM on July 8, 2011


It's not like he took a flying leap in front of the guy or anything--he just leaned a tiny bit too far. Probably a woman with a lower center of gravity would have been fine right there.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:09 AM on July 8, 2011


There is absolutely no reason for the stadium not to be safer than that.

I totally agree with this. I was at the new Yankee Stadium recently and wondering at how rare injuries are stadiums are. After a couple of beers those steep steps in the upper deck look downright deadly. It's also amazing, watching games on TV, how often you see bats and balls and fragments of bats being rocketed into the stands near home plate. The cameras usually show someone grinning and joking around after narrowly avoiding getting their head smashed in, and it seems like a minor miracle that people aren't hurt more often, especially since baseball is not a game that lends itself to paying constant rapt attention.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2011


I guess TV shows have given me an unrealistic idea of what happens during a cardiac event.

I had thought that if you were conscious and talking beforehand and were actually in the care of medical professionals when experiencing one, you were pretty much guaranteed to survive. (There are obviously exceptions, but that seemed like the general rule of thumb.)
Sorry for the digression, but the reports are somewhat hazy on what the cause of death was: some reports are saying "cardiac event" and some are saying "internal injuries". It's possible he damaged his aorta, which is something that can only be fixed by nearly-instant surgical intervention, but it's also possible that he suffered traumatic cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. Either one would be almost certainly unrecoverable.

We're pretty good with electricity-related cardiac malfunctions (we can defibrillate, and have some pharmacological interventions), but any kind of cardiac event that requires surgery, to be survivable, pretty much requires you to be right on top of a hospital with a trauma surgeon standing by. And I'm not talking ten minutes out: I'm talking five minutes out or less, at a full sprint.
posted by scrump at 10:19 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


From the Death at the Ballpark blog I count 7 fan deaths at stadiums since 2008 not involving fights or a non-stadium/non-game related cause like heart attack:

3 falls from attempts to slide on handrails
1 electrocution
1 strike by ball
1 death by falling object
1 death by a fall not related to sliding on handrails

Interesting that sliding on handrails appears to be the most dangerous activity at a stadium, along with fights (also 3 deaths).

The majority of baseball related deaths listed, however, are kids under 18: 8 deaths from ball strikes. These kids all appear to be players or participants in games, practices, or play.
posted by 6550 at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2011


I don't see it that way, ReeMonster. That is the normal friendly competition for a ball I would see at any game, whether foul ball or tossed.

Agreed. I might say that baseball fans care too much about souvenirs, but when the home run or foul ball is coming my way, I'm going for it. My friend and I got on the big screen once at PacBell/SBC/ATT, after a foul ball came bouncing down from the top deck softly toward us and we both jumped (it was coming straight to him) and grabbed for it at the same time, me landing on top of his shoulders, both of us clutching/wrestling the ball for a good 15 seconds until I decided to be the "good sport" and let go (considering he had it grasped to his chest and I was only holding it by draping myself across his shoulders. ;)

I would feel incredibly stupid if we had a serious accident, but those sorts of interactions happen thousands of times every year. I'm also pretty sure I would be aware of my safety a lot more if I was in the front row of the top deck, but I've always been wary, if not afraid, of heights.

emjaybee, ballplayers used to rarely throw balls into the stands prior to the 1994 strike. I believe MLB made it an unwritten policy after that strike for players to take every chance to toss a ball to a fan in order to get back the fan's good graces.

Yeah, I hated that and still do. Now any cute face gets a free ball--you had to earn them through skill and/or guile in my day. I have one ball that I caught (or chased after) from a spring-training home run that was signed by about 15 of the 1983 Tigers. The foul ball mentioned above is the closest I've gotten since.

I dunno. Baseball is already the only sport that lets fans keep the balls that go out of play ... deliberating throwing balls out of play to fans seems gratuitous to me (and in this case deadly). The t-shirt gun never killed anyone.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 AM on July 8, 2011


The t-shirt gun never killed anyone.

Only one.

posted by 6550 at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


This gives me a sad.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:40 AM on July 8, 2011


>>He fell because he tried to lunge in front of the guy who would have naturally caught it.

>Hundreds of fans do this at games every day, and most of the time, nobody dies or gets hurt. He made a risk calculation that a lot of people make and everything turns out fine. In this case, it didn't turn out fine at all. Doesn't make the guy a jerk, just human.


[...]

They showed the video at least 8 times on a short segment on one of the morning shows, and showed it at every news roundup, and before several commercial breaks.

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:43 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


those steep steps in the upper deck look downright deadly

Hmmm. Maybe a heads-up that you're gonna see an act of violence. But it's on Youtube without a 18+ logon warning... so how bad can it be?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:48 AM on July 8, 2011


You cannot make things foolproof. Literally proof against fools who do stuff like slide down bannisters or lunge over a railing to get a ball. Tragic? Yes. Horrible? Most definitely. Foolish? Without question. Fools will find ways to kill themselves that the rest of us do not need to pay for. Good grief. Let's all ban cars next time a drunk pedestrian lurches into the autobahn and gets pureed.

We're going to end up walking around covered with pillows and bactine to save ourselves from our own stupidity.
posted by umberto at 12:08 PM on July 8, 2011


Aussies do it with humour and class and without the sh1tfight. Harder, heavier ball. No gloves to protect their precious widdle handsie-wandsies.

One handed while talking on the phone. Why not?

The weird brother out of The Hangover gets in on the action.

Someone's gonna get lucky tonight.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:15 PM on July 8, 2011


You cannot make things foolproof. Literally proof against fools who do stuff like slide down bannisters or lunge over a railing to get a ball.

Absolutely foolish. And avoiding foolish activities, including fights, is obviously the number one stadium safety tip. But it's worth at least looking into problematic areas. In this case a net that would have been completely unobtrusive could have saved his life. Future stadium designers could look at ways to make railing more difficult to slide upon (eg, short and non-contiguous segments or obstacles like poles).
posted by 6550 at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2011


Wow, everybody is falling all over themselves trying to find someone to blame. Beyond stadium management doing everything they reasonably can, I think this gets filed under 'sometimes tragic shit happens.'

I feel horrible for his child and for Hamilton.
posted by dry white toast at 12:32 PM on July 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Let's all ban cars next time a drunk pedestrian lurches into the autobahn and gets pureed.

I'm pretty sure they have fences on the sides of the autobahn.
posted by The World Famous at 12:33 PM on July 8, 2011


Anyway, the fact that fans have fallen at the same ballpark twice in two years make my bells ring a little bit.

So far this season 1.6 million people have attended Texas Rangers games; 2.5 million people went to Rangers game last season. League-wide, 73.1 million people attended baseball games last season. What happened is sad. It's also extremely rare.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Absolutely foolish. And avoiding foolish activities, including fights, is obviously the number one stadium safety tip.

I agree to some extent, but life is not perfect. I found this, unrelated, though endearing.
posted by clavdivs at 1:16 PM on July 8, 2011


Ugh - I was there the night before at the game against the Orioles, and we were joking (on our way up to the top deck for our cheap seats) that the rails all seemed a little low, especially considering someone had taken the plunge the year before.

Not so much of a joke now.

This is an awful, tragic thing for the family, and I'm sorry that this happened. I hope that the Rangers administration figures out a way to make these accidents even more rare, be it plexiglass dividers or netting over the large gaps around the field. I understand that there's a tipping point between safety and comfort, and I hope they figure out something that is workable.

My condolences to the family, and I hope that kid is surrounded by love and care so that he'll be able to overcome this tragic day.
posted by SNWidget at 2:07 PM on July 8, 2011


This is a tough read, a little bit: Shannon Stone's widow worried for son
posted by King Bee at 4:13 PM on July 8, 2011


Aussies do it with humour and class and without the sh1tfight.

They also think it's an amazing occurrence to catch a ball barehanded. Also, in #2, there are certainly 4-5 guys reaching for the ball. That's about all that occurs in baseball as well. In the other 2 videos, the catchers are isolated by empty seats.

One handed while talking on the phone. Why not?

Cell phone? Bah. How about one-handed while holding an 18-month-old? (and the opposite end of the skill set.)

This is a tough read, a little bit: Shannon Stone's widow worried for son

Tragic. I didn't actually watch the video, but from pictures it looks like the kid was right behind his dad. I hope he doesn't blame himself (i.e. if he accidentally bumped him). I have a bad feeling he does. The whole family needs to stop talking to journalists or watching the news and focus on grieving.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:24 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope he doesn't blame himself (i.e. if he accidentally bumped him). I have a bad feeling he does.

Ugh. =/
posted by King Bee at 5:13 PM on July 8, 2011


You cannot make things foolproof. Literally proof against fools who do stuff like slide down bannisters or lunge over a railing to get a ball. Tragic? Yes. Horrible? Most definitely. Foolish? Without question. Fools will find ways to kill themselves that the rest of us do not need to pay for. Good grief. Let's all ban cars next time a drunk pedestrian lurches into the autobahn and gets pureed.

We're going to end up walking around covered with pillows and bactine to save ourselves from our own stupidity.


---

What is your deal? I'm asking this sincerely, Umberto. I really want to know, and I'm not trying to call you out or shame you or anything. A lot of people think this way, and I hope to understand it better.

Are you really okay with people dying while doing regular things like trying to catch a baseball at the ballpark? Is the pro-rated cost of a higher or receded railing, or a net--which needn't be passed on to the fans in the first place--really so disagreeable to you that you would prefer to see someone die rather than possibly be called upon to contribute towards the cost of a safeguard?

Even when considering something like sliding down a precarious handrail--which is admittedly foolish--I find myself thinking it is a shame that a life should be lost when simple precautions could spare society a death. They serve alcohol at most stadiums, and someone is bound to act the fool now and again. Death seems like a high price to pay for asinine behavior.

Shannon Stone was a firefighter: who knows how many lives he has saved (or would have--). He was also a father. Now he's dead because he tripped and fell while trying to catch a baseball. And if there is a lawsuit, the legal costs or settlement should surpass the cost of "fool-proofing" by an order of magnitude or so. Putting aside the hyperbole of banning cars and wearing pillows, are you really convinced that improving safety in public places is such a burden on society that it should prefer to see people dead?
posted by millions at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2011


I'm not Umberto, but I'll take a crack at it.

millions: "Are you really okay with people dying while doing regular things like trying to catch a baseball at the ballpark? Is the pro-rated cost of a higher or receded railing, or a net--which needn't be passed on to the fans in the first place--really so disagreeable to you that you would prefer to see someone die rather than possibly be called upon to contribute towards the cost of a safeguard?"

Well, I think we can agree that there are limits to what preventive measures we should take, right? After all, we could be installing defibrillators every hundred feet, well, everywhere! And it's likely that, at some point, they will do some good for someone. We could mandate that every rooftop be surrounded by railings. We could carve a staircase into the side of Half Dome. Why not?

Well, cost.

And it's not just the financial cost. There are other costs too. We design our roads around the idea that large firetrucks need to be able to drive through them at high speed. And it may well be that that has saved a number of lives. But it also results in roads that are difficult and dangerous to traverse on foot, and effectively blocks the possibility of building new cities like those that tourists travel so far to see. What's the cost of that? A higher railing at a ballpark will ever-so-slightly diminish the enjoyment of the people who can no longer see the outfielders. Cost? I don't know. And will people just climb over them anyway? As you say, they are drunk and foolish.

Now it could be that higher fences are a good idea. I don't know. But it's far from obvious.
posted by alexei at 2:35 PM on July 9, 2011


I appreciate you weighing in, Alexei. I guess if it were up to me, I suppose that the least we could do is pay attention to precedent. That is, of course we don't install defibrillators every hundred feet, but if there is a public place that is shown to be difficult for emergency workers to access, and a plausible argument can be made that lives can be saved by putting in a defibrillator, I'm okay with it.

It's a compelling point you make about how we design roads, and the unintended costs such decisions might carry: it is probably not the best policy to go all-in on untried safety measures just because a proposal sounds good. On the other hand, I think we can afford to put a railing on a roof if it is shown that not doing so poses a danger during whatever normal activity might be expected on that rooftop, just like I think we can pull a railing in or put a net up over a 20 foot drop so that a fan at a baseball game doesn't fall to his death in the course of trying to catch a foul ball. Would I be less sympathetic if a drunk fan circumvents a safeguard by climbing over it? Sure. But even then it seems contrary to resist playing it safe, as long as the expense isn't exorbitant.

Maybe it's just me, but certain appeals to parsimony--when lives predictably hang in the balance--seem misguided. When the argument for this comes on behalf of wealthy ballclub owners whose teams play in publicly-subsidized ballparks, I would go so far as to call it distasteful. If I can be excused, after considering the banning of cars and defibrillators at every 100 feet, taking just a little rhetorical leeway of my own, I happen to think you can pay for a sturdy net over the 20-foot drop at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington by giving out, say, eight thousand Josh Hamilton bobbleheads instead of ten thousand on bobblehead night. Two thousand fans adjust to life without a Hamilton bobblehead, and maybe a kid has a dad growing up instead of watching him fall to his death. A firefighter gets to keep on fighting fires. Seems fair. (I'm prepared to hear a rebuttal on this point, especially if the intangible costs of putting in a safety measure can be expressed in estimated bobbleheads, or "EB".)
posted by millions at 8:27 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go Jeter!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:57 PM on July 9, 2011


There was almost a repeat today at the Home Run Derby -
posted by exogenous at 11:06 AM on July 12, 2011


For the St. Louis Cardinals, throwing baseballs into the stands is against team policy and players were reminded of that during spring training.

Hear hear!

But snagging a foul ball, or a home run, or catching a soft toss from a player is part of the game

The first two are. The third is a very recent development that sucks. Lance Berkman, you've been a wonderful free-agent pickup this year, but you're dead wrong here. Flipping balls into the stands is good for no one.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:06 PM on July 12, 2011


Update, FYI: Rangers to raise railings after fan death.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:48 PM on July 19, 2011


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