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Stadium safety should be a given

RangersRailing AP

It’s been 23 hours since I learned of the demise of Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter and father who fell to his death while trying to catch a foul ball for his young son.  The more I think about it, the madder I get.

I shared my views earlier today during the opening segment of PFT Live.  (I got a little upset and animated but I stand by everything I said.)  Here’s a summary.

1.  The railing over which Shannon Stone fell is too damn low.

2.  It’s always the responsibility of the stadium owner and operator to ensure that fans are protected against the risks that reasonably can be foreseen, such as leaning over a railing to catch a ball.

3.  The railing over which Shannon Stone fell is too damn low.

4.  The fact that beer is sold to the fans makes it even more important that the stadium owner and operator ensure that fans are protected against the risks that reasonably can be foreseen, such as leaning over a railing to catch a ball, possibly after drinking a couple of said beers.

5.  The railing over which Shannon Stone fell is too damn low.

Based on the photo of the area at which the incident occurred, it’s obvious that the railing could be made higher.  Indeed, the railing is higher at the spot where it coincides with the aisle.  Why not make it that high in all other locations?  Presumably, because it would make it harder to see from the front row.

Here’s a revolutionary thought.  Get rid of the front row.

Other alternatives include building a ledge that would catch anyone who falls over the too-damn-low railing, saving them from a 20-foot fall onto concrete.  (Of course, that would cost money, without any potential revenue to justify the expenditure.)

We’ve been at the forefront of the “get rid of the lawyers” movement as it applies to the labor negotiations, but Stone’s death provides a prime example of a situation in which lawyer involvement is critical.  Nailing the Rangers (or whoever owns the stadium) will force them to make the stadium safer.  And it will force other stadium operators to take note, and to make changes before they have an incident of their own.

Ideally, stadium operators would make those changes without the threat of litigation and the expense that goes along with it.  But that’s not how the world works.  Profit-driven enterprises don’t respond to moral imperatives; they respond to potential assaults on their profits.

No verdict or settlement will change the fact that Shannon Stone’s eight-year-old son will have to live without a father and with the memory of watching his father fall to his death.  But blasting the balance sheets of the folks who failed to make the stadium safer for paying customers like Shannon Stone will help ensure that reasonable steps are taken to allow fans to try to catch baseballs for their children without worrying about, you know, getting killed.

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69 Responses to “Stadium safety should be a given”
  1. hobartbaker says: Jul 9, 2011 12:00 AM

    The foulest ball of them all.

  2. phins77 says: Jul 9, 2011 12:07 AM

    Amen

  3. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 9, 2011 12:12 AM

    This is an awful story. Stone and his son stopped by Sporting Goods on the way over to the game to by his son a glove to hopefully catch a foul ball… and then the 6 year old kid had to watch his father fall to his death. It’s very sad. Condolences to the family

  4. belicheckyoself says: Jul 9, 2011 12:23 AM

    I get drunker’n’hell at baseball games and don’t want my responsibility for that taken. Dislike @ #4. Watered down $10 drafts are not responsible for our actions. That’s why I pregame, and when I eventually go ass over keel down those uneven concrete steps I own it.

    I get the higher rails argument at it’s face, but then you’d have people climing the extra layer of rail and instinctively jumping for balls. Yes I’m serious. Then you’ll need a fence behind the rail. THEN someone will figure out a way to get killed as one of the 82 home games x 50000 seats x however many teams there are. Welcome to life. It has a single truth to it. It ends.
    The cars are safer, so more people push the limit.
    The helmets and pads are better, so the hits are harder.
    It’s not up to us. That’s part of the lesson.
    Pray for, or with your new NBC money, help his family.

  5. theroguescripter says: Jul 9, 2011 12:24 AM

    first of all isnt this proFOOTBALLtalk, second of all…

    “But blasting the balance sheets of the folks who failed to make the stadium safer for paying customers like Shannon Stone will help ensure that reasonable steps are taken to allow fans to try to catch baseballs for their children without worrying about, you know, getting killed.”

    Are you kidding me? How are you going to fine people for FOLLOWING the safety regulations and meeting the guidelines set forth to them when they built the stadium? And using alcohol as an excuse? Im pretty sure the contractors that took part in building the stadium dont force feed fans alcohol, that is their personal choice and they assume all risks and consequences for their actions. What happened was a tragic accident and something so horribly sad. But trying to pass the blame on to people that had nothing to do with the incident is ridiculous. If you lean over a railing that you know leads to a large dropoff you probably know whats gonna happen if you fall…

  6. dangonavyboy says: Jul 9, 2011 12:26 AM

    its sad that it happend..i feel bad for the son and mother but look be real…when stadiums are built they are inspected for code and everything..they get the passin grade before they can even be built..then a grade during construction and when its complete and then are open..which im pretty sure that a fire chief is also apart of to make sure its safe to get out in case of a fire and for falling and among other things..look alot of this has to do with common sense as well..im sorry i get people want to get foul balls..but you have to look at hmm…is it worth me reachin over any railing that i could fall and die from worth it..most accidents come from a lack of common sense..thats like me walking on the sidewalk and i trip from the drop off of the sidewalk to the road and fall into the road and a car hits me..so what does the city gotta correct all the sidewalks..blame the sidewalks..blame the city for building sidewalks…look stuff happens..no matter how safe things are built…installed..or precautions death always finds a way..just the way the world is

  7. ebenezergrymm says: Jul 9, 2011 12:30 AM

    A an extra bar along the top of the railing that comes out like a ledge is the cheapest and best way to prevent those accidents without hurting the viewing experience of the fans.

  8. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 9, 2011 12:34 AM

    It doesn’t matter whether the building fits the codes or regulations… a couple years ago some girl got killed after being hit with a puck and her family got like a 1.2million dollar settlement or something, and that building was within regulations.

  9. jfluke65 says: Jul 9, 2011 12:44 AM

    Here’s an even more revolutionary thought: People take responsibility for their own actions.
    If he was inebriated, what was the plan for after the game, drive his 8 yo home while drunk? If he wasn’t, then he was an idiot that should’ve looked before he leaped. The rail is there to keep people from accidentally falling, but it’s also a reminder to others that there’s a risk if you reach too far for a stupid foul ball (never got the importance of that anyway).

  10. hobartbaker says: Jul 9, 2011 12:46 AM

    The “fence” is a bit of a joke. From the look of it the purpose it seems to serve is to flip you upside down when you fall, so your head strikes the concrete first, rather than your feet. Without a railing you could step right off and break both your ankles, but be alive to sue them.

  11. childressrulz says: Jul 9, 2011 1:08 AM

    This is a bad deal for sure and I know I sound callous but honestly this is just natural selection at work and it doesn’t happen enough in society today with all the warning labels and other safety features out there. We all need to be more responsible for our own safety. If you are incapable of making good decisions after a few drinks lock yourself in a padded room and knock back a bottle I guess.

  12. aigraiders says: Jul 9, 2011 1:09 AM

    @NePats

    Didnt they put in the net on both end of the goalies in the NHL due to the result of that girl’s death? I dont remember those nets there before. I could be wrong.

    The saddest part is the lil guy being dramatized for the rest of his life and the fans around there hearing his scream for his father. Just sad all around.

  13. dtriebel says: Jul 9, 2011 1:26 AM

    It’s a tragedy and my heart goes out to his family. That said we have enough rampant suing of everyone over everything. I’m pretty sure he knew about gravity, if the stadium met all regulations then it’s a no fault accident in my humble opinion. A lawsuit will raise ticket prices, make some greasy lawyer rich, but it will never bring that poor boys father back.

  14. siggy00 says: Jul 9, 2011 1:35 AM

    The railing in the front row of the infield upper deck in Coors Field is ridiculously low. Very shocked that no one has ever fallen from it.

    The thing is, after the first ever home stand, they cut the railing lower because people complained it was too high.

    It was so low that my brother and I used to take turns, one of us would wear a glove, and the other would make sure we didn’t fall.

  15. dirtdawg55 says: Jul 9, 2011 1:36 AM

    Typical lawyer’s response to everything. Sue. Well, here is an idea. How about some personal accountability and not lean over a railing over a twenty foot drop for a baseball?

    Millions of fans attend sporting events every year in this country. There are a few incidents and there have been some deaths. But I am pretty sure more people have died going to and from games, or even died in their own homes getting ready for a game, then have died in stadiums attending a game.

    Could the railing be higher? Sure. I get the willies in some stadiums thinking about how low the railings are. But thats why I don’t lean over them to chase down a ball thrown our way.

    And no, this is not to suggest Shannon Stone deserved to die. it is meant to suggest that regardless of how safe something is, people still get hurt. Stuff happens in life … And death … And we don’t always need to be protected from ourselves.

  16. zerored78 says: Jul 9, 2011 1:37 AM

    No, I completely disagree. People need to be responsible for their own actions.

    1. The railing height is just fine. If it was higher, people would just get off their feet to lean over and be at more risk to fall. If you make it too high for that it will obstruct the view of multiple rows of fans.

    2. The stadium should try to make things as safe as possible. There is a balance to be made between that and the enjoyment of the majority of fans.

    3. An example of that is beer sales. I’m sorry, but I want to enjoy alcohol at games and people who can’t handle it shouldn’t be a reason to keep me from it. Punish those who can’t handle it responsibly.

    4. No, lawyers are not needed here at all. This is not gross negligence. Just an unfortunate accident that could have been avoided if the fan had acted properly.

  17. mystereo says: Jul 9, 2011 1:44 AM

    Just put a safety net over that walkway area but beneath the top of wall (anyone who falls there gets ejected from game). This is the same protection given to the spectators behind home plate.

  18. stealthscorpio says: Jul 9, 2011 2:19 AM

    It’s tragic…it’s awful..it is the worst kind of sad…horrific from the human point of view…for the kid, for the family, for Josh Hamilton, et al…the guy went balls out to catch a ball for his kid, an officer in a fire department trained extensively in safety, lost all sense of reason and balance and went over the rail…he was a big guy…how high would the rail have to be?…at some point, we are responsible for ourselves…I could do lots of stupid things, maybe even well meaning, but most of the time my common sense prevails…the other times, I am a Darwin award candidate with no one to blame but myself…the guy was possessed beyond his own common sense to get a ball…it wouldn’t have mattered how high the rail was, he was gonna get the damn ball consequences be damned…it’s just awful…but the guy was a damn fool…and it could have been any of us…but it is on him and only on him for losing all sense of perspective…and it is just awful and tragic and sad…maybe blame firefighter mentality for feeling superhuman or at least overly risk taking…the last guy to go over the rail, a year and a day ago at the very same stadium, was also…wait for it…a fireman…I appreciate your sentiment and your natural lawyerly response…but punishing the masses, ie everyone that attends a sporting event of any kind, owners of stadiums, sports teams, etc with costs, obstructions, and limitations, for the stupidity of one fan at one single event…I am very sorry to say stupid and I feel awful for his family and I donated to the fund…but that’s what it is…the dude acted like an idiot and it cost him his life in front of his kid…for a $5 baseball…it sucks…

  19. polishkingski says: Jul 9, 2011 2:28 AM

    you are correct sir!

  20. acdc84 says: Jul 9, 2011 3:01 AM

    I agree with most everything except the alcohol thing. I’m sure a tox result will confirm but I can’t image a father going to a game with an 8 year old was pounding in the parking lot, so there was no way he had more than one beer in hime by the second inning.

  21. pappageorgio says: Jul 9, 2011 3:16 AM

    The railing looks a little low.

    That being said…..a few years ago at the school I worked at a kid fell off the monkey bars. Freakish accident and the poor boy broke his arm in several pieces……the bars were promptly removed.

    The following year a child got hit in the head with a ball at recess and received a pretty severe concussion…….all balls were promptly banned.

    While eliminating the activities that caused the injuries (activities that have been safely completed billions of times all across America), I have to ask……did the school district really reduce the chances of a freak and unlikely accident from happening?

    This story in terrible and unfortunate but with the sheer number of people that go through this and other parks all over the country, risk will never be eliminated. when people are up in high places they need to be careful…..this park has been open since ’94 and people aren’t falling at a record pace.
    In this case (and I hate to be the jerk……but) that ball was thrown two people away from this guy. The guy that the ball was thrown to just stuck his gloved hand over the fence and wasn’t leaning any farther…….stone jumped over his own kid and leapt out in front of that guy to get the ball. This guy should not be completely absolved of bad judgment…..and nobody gets a pass because they had to many drinks. People are supposed to be responsible for themselves there too.

  22. newguy925 says: Jul 9, 2011 3:35 AM

    When they build embankments that say 25 mph, they build them for 45mph. My son is 4, I would extend myself over the rail to reach for the ball for him, as would any father worth his salt. This level of risk is close to impermissible on my deck a foot off the ground (48″ by law). You would go get that ball for your boy and you know it and so do they. Let’s make it 60″, that’s 5 feet. If you fall over that it’s your fault. That picture makes it look like 3″, my 4 year old can get over that, and if he does you bet your sweet ass I’m suing.

  23. divineright78 says: Jul 9, 2011 3:43 AM

    no one here should ever ever ever forget that the man writing this is a lawyer. While the thought may be right a lawyer never says something like this for the right reasons. he only says it because another lawyer could get money.

  24. ernestbynershands says: Jul 9, 2011 3:51 AM

    Are you kidding me?
    Did I just read that the author if this post blame the stadium design and alcohol?
    Of the 10’s or 100’s of thousands of fans who have sat in those sections and drank and/or caught foul balls, only 1 other has fallen. So according to the author, a lawyer, this is the stadium operators fault?
    By mentioning beer sales, where you suggesting that alcohol was to blame?
    Why didn’t you call for the arrest of Josh Hamilton? He threw the ball that killed mr stone.
    This is a ridiculous article. The author is a lawyer so he seess tragedy as a potential money making opportunity.
    I guess as a lawyer, he made a living blaming others for the stupidity of his clients.
    Just like as a blogger he cuts and pastes what other people write and he calls himself a writer.
    I bet he won’t let this post.

  25. buffalodiehard says: Jul 9, 2011 4:53 AM

    Amen, brotha.

  26. joetoronto says: Jul 9, 2011 5:38 AM

    The railing IS too low, code or no code.

  27. delhommed says: Jul 9, 2011 5:58 AM

    Why do I think the author of this piece was previously a lawyer? Here is an idea: how about all the obese people in the world file lawsuits against McDonalds and Burger King for not protecting them against themselves? How about smokers take legal action against the tobacco companies? Blame it on someone else! Its the new American way!

  28. skimbell says: Jul 9, 2011 6:54 AM

    The best solution would be to do away with the upper decks/levels all together. Just put all seats on the ground level. That’s going to make the stadiums REALLY big and the view is going to suffer for those schmucks that wind up sitting a half mile or so from the field but at least “we’ll all be safe“!
    And isn’t that what it’s all about? Nobody should ever have to be responsible for themselves.
    And while we’re at it, lts make it against the law to drive cars on the streets around the ball park. Somebody might walk right on the street in front of a car or truck and …you know!

  29. pocketsstraight says: Jul 9, 2011 7:02 AM

    “Other alternatives include building a ledge that would catch anyone who falls over the too-damn-low railing, saving them from a 20-foot fall onto concrete”

    Nolan Ryan said, “the Rangers got rid of the deck, which was six to eight feet below the railing, because they felt it encouraged fans to jump down and retrieve home runs.”

    Lawyers are definitely needed here. They had decking underneath that spot because they saw the danger. People are jumping the railing so they removed the decking… WITHOUT REPLACING IT. Put a damn cargo-net material there. No one will jump over the rail, and if someone falls they will still be caught.

    source: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/07/09/2094664/rangers-to-conduct-a-safety-review.html#ixzz1RbYdHbQx

  30. stixzidinia says: Jul 9, 2011 7:15 AM

    So fans aren’t supposed to display common sense in NOT leaning over a railing and endangering themselves over a stupid baseball? Yeah okay.

  31. superpatriot11 says: Jul 9, 2011 7:24 AM

    A horrible story, and unfortunately not the first time, and I’m sure not the last time something like this will happen. Seem to remember a Chiefs fan falling from the upper deck a few years ago. Rangers had a fan almost a year ago fall from the luxury suites, and a Mets fan fell and died not that long ago.

    If anyone wants to help out the Stone family, the widow and the son there at the game, a fund has been setup and donations can be made here:

    https://secure.mlb.com/tex/community/shannon_stone_fund.jsp

  32. zzfranklin says: Jul 9, 2011 7:29 AM

    How many people saw a game at this stadium without dying? 50 million? I’ll take those odds. This may sound tough to the man’s family and friends, but freak occurrences happen.

  33. hooks024 says: Jul 9, 2011 7:29 AM

    It was a ball thrown into the stands by rangers outfielder josh hamilton. Doesn’t change anything, but that’s how it happened. My thoughts go out to his family.

  34. 1historian says: Jul 9, 2011 7:42 AM

    not a word about ANY personal responsibility on the pat of the ticket-holders.

    what a surprise

  35. 1historian says: Jul 9, 2011 7:45 AM

    “Stadium safety should be a given.”

    It is

    Fan stupidity is a given.

    Feces occur

  36. aahusman says: Jul 9, 2011 8:17 AM

    The railing is 7″ higher than code requires. There were boards covering the gap between the railing and the outfield wall until this season, but fans jumped over the rail and stood on the boards to catch foul balls. The team felt that was more dangerous. This is very tragic, but I want to point out something that I heard last night on the news. The guy who fell from the stands at the Rangers Ballpark last year was a fireman too. Firemen risk their lives while doing their jobs, but they need to realize that outside of work they are mortal just like the rest of us. Shannon’s death is tragic but could have been prevented if he didn’t do a full stretch, nearly dive, without a hold of anything. I’m sure if everyone had it to do over again, it would not happen. But playing the blame game isn’t going to help anything.

  37. ncoolong says: Jul 9, 2011 8:20 AM

    Yes, I can’t think of any profession that’s advanced the fight for good in the world more than lawyers have…ahem…

  38. splitbackveer says: Jul 9, 2011 8:35 AM

    Raising the rail and getting rid of the front row would work but there are steps that could be more effective that can be installed immediately. Install safety netting over the edge like the ones used on heliports on the top of building and on sea going vessels. This is a dirt cheap and practical solution that involves minimal construction time. This was a coming thing as stadiums maximize space to stuff every warm body they can into seats. What a terrible accident, poor child.

  39. willycents says: Jul 9, 2011 8:36 AM

    I own a company that builds handrails. Here in Wyoming, each city has its own handrail code. Most require the handrail be between 37″ and 42″ in height. Looking at the pic of the cops, I would say the handrail is probably about 40″ high. If it is any taller, it must be more than 6′ and a rail must be added that is between those aforementioned heights. Stadium owner is correct, it appears, in the height of the rail. Check the building codes before condemning the stadium for being wrong in the rail height. Thanks.

  40. MichaelEdits says: Jul 9, 2011 8:42 AM

    Some of y’all are cold. Why don’t you nominate the guy for a Darwin while you’re at it? Oh, wait, he reproduced. A guy died and you’re laughing about it. Real nice. I hope his son isn’t reading these comments.

  41. yzguy431 says: Jul 9, 2011 9:10 AM

    how about people leave the balls on the field and take responsibility for their own safety. oh right, forgot you were a lawyer where someone else is always at fault. right.

  42. lucky5934 says: Jul 9, 2011 9:17 AM

    I am split on this matter… On one hand stadiums could easily build an extension platform that extends out from the bottom of the upper tier to catch anyone who falls. An easy fix that would be a better alternative than to ban the front row or raise the bars higher. Because truth of the matter is that fans see a ball coming at them, they are not thinking about safety, they are thinking about catching a ball. Yes, take away the front row, but people would see that ball coming and still rush down to the bottom to try and catch it. It is a tragic loss no matter which way you look at it. But if a firefighter who lives his life by protecting people and making safe choices at a moment’s glance makes an unsafe choice, anyone can do it. People are going to continue to make those same unfortunate and ill-advised choices. Finding a way to protect them with an extension platform rather than asking a stadium to lose money by giving up seats is a more reasonable request. Especially considering that people will find ways to go after fly balls anyway.

  43. east96st says: Jul 9, 2011 9:23 AM

    I have been a season ticket holder for various teams for over ten years. Neither I, nor my children, nor anyone I have EVER seen, has gone over the rails. This was a tragic accident. I sincerely feel for the child. But you’re discussing an event that happens with FAR less frequency than winning Lotto and we all know what the odds of that is. The poor guy took an obvious risk and made a mistake that cost him his life. Is that ANY different from someone who guns his car engine when the light turns yellow and gets killed by a truck going the other way because he didn’t beat the red light like he thought he would? People often take needless risks and, fortunately, usually get away with it. When my son was six, I would take him to the stadium/arena an hour early to talk to the players and, usually, he would get a ball or a puck (depending on what game we were at) thrown to him. The guys are usually pretty nice during warm ups to six year olds. Dad took a gamble and lost. It’s tragic. But it was a gamble he did NOT have to take. This death is an outlier and, I strongly suspect, you know that.

  44. theravenlives2 says: Jul 9, 2011 10:31 AM

    How about a little personal responsibility here. I am very sorry that this gentlemean – here with his young son – fell over the ralling and died. Still, It is the responsibility of the person occupying theses seats to realize where they are. I speak from experience.
    I am a Ravens season ticket holder, and sit in the front row of the upper deck at M&T Bank Stadium. I have missed two home games in the 15-year history of the team, including pre-season games. While I rarely if ever drink, I NEVER forget where I am and that I am about 75 yards above the lower seating bowl. Even in our litigous society, it is MY responsibility to make sure I place myself in a safe situation. Just sayin’!

  45. fringetastic says: Jul 9, 2011 10:34 AM

    I agree that it is a tragedy for the family but I completely disagree with what should happen from it, Mike.

    First, it was the father’s fault. He did something stupid and he faced the ultimate, unfortunate consequence.

    Second, you are suggesting that millions of dollars be spent to revamp stadiums to prevent one death (from his own act of stupidity) among millions of stadium attendees – which is practically the definition of over-litigating. You can’t claim that the current stadiums aren’t safe because the death rate is incredibly low. (Really, think about it, how many people die annually traveling to and from games? How many die annually from falling over rails?) I bet more people are injured from tripping on stadium steps in a day than are injured from throwing themselves over the railings in a decade. It isn’t a reasonable demand.

  46. dmretrogames says: Jul 9, 2011 11:03 AM

    “On one hand stadiums could easily build an extension platform that extends out from the bottom of the upper tier to catch anyone who falls.”

    You mean an extension platform that fans will climb onto to catch baseballs, resulting in more accidents and calls for lawsuits?

  47. chaseright says: Jul 9, 2011 11:28 AM

    So the rail is too damn low huh?

    In the hundreds (thousands?) of games played at this stadium, this tragic occurrence has happened a single, solitary time. Yet, that’s enough for you to conclude that, definitively, the rail is too damn low?

    It’s a terrible, tragic, ACCIDENT. There is no fault. There’s no suit to be filed. It’s an accident.

    A man was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park this week, without provocation, a mother bear attacked him from behind (he was 100 yards away). Experts called this “a 1 in 3-million” event. But I guess based on your logic we should no longer allow people to hike in Yellowstone, or if they do, perhaps put them in full body armor.

    What happened at Arlington Stadium is a terrible tragedy. The Rangers and community at large need to embrace the family, and, truthfully, invite them back to a game as their guests as soon as possible, to show Stone’s son that he should continue to love the game his dad loved. Isn’t that what his dad would want?

    Sometimes a lawsuit ISN’T the answer or most correct course of action. You’ve allowed your emotions to cloud your judgement.

  48. dangonavyboy says: Jul 9, 2011 11:53 AM

    love how people say put a net there..hmm..guess what fans will do..WONT WORRY FOR FALLING CAUSE OF A NET..and then more people will reach over fall in the net cause its there..then oh no what happens if people fall in the net and someone breaks there neck and dies then what..put pillows 10 feet high..look..people in general are dumb..okay..why do you think car companys try to improve on a more stronger and safe body every year..cause people think oh i got air bags i wont die….this has this so called indestructible body i cant get hurt so im goin to go 90 mph every where i go..guess what..football helmet companies try to make the paddin thicker and better..helmets stronger..guess what football players do..dang this stuff stronger..now im goin to really hit peoples with my head harder..you guys get the point..when someone makes something safer we find away to make it more dangerous..bottom line is its sad what happened but unless stadiums and ballparks install seat belts on every seat that you have to wear like on a airplane and cant take off untill the game over stuff is goin to happen every once in awhile..its the person’s own responsibility of how he acts..and i dont want to hear ohh well any good father would do his best to get his son a ball..what father thinks gettin a baseball or anything is worth killing himself for then puttin his son/wife or whoever thru what just happened..i get it you want to make your son happy but whats more important..a baseball or being there for your son for the next 70 years..

  49. hobartbaker says: Jul 9, 2011 12:35 PM

    Did he hang on to the ball?

  50. PFTiswhatitis says: Jul 9, 2011 1:43 PM

    After reading the comments I would strongly suggest that many of the commenters should not sit in the front row at games. They will surely end up going over.

  51. macker1283 says: Jul 9, 2011 1:53 PM

    The guy lost his balance. People on here are kind of dumb to make like he made some unbelievably bad decision. Hamilton threw him the ball and he wen’t to catch it. Something anyone would have done. But because the railing seems to be there just for decoration and not to actually, you know, keep people from falling over, it turned out tragic.

    And people are also dumb to point out that this only has happened once in history. People have fallen over balconys, onto fields, hundreds of times at baseball games. You can chalk it up to luck that this is the first time someone has died.

    By the way, some years back a minor league first base coach was killed by a line drive. That only happened once. But it didn’t stop baseball from making all coaches wear helmets while on the field.

  52. endzonezombie says: Jul 9, 2011 1:59 PM

    This is not a very thoughtful or intelligent rant that falls into the MYOB category. Every study conducted with BASEBALL fans indicates that they object to higher railings or screens for protection from/interference with the environment of a game. Stadiums will never be idiot proof, so lets not sound like idiots with criticism about stadium design that already meets local building and safety codes.

  53. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 9, 2011 2:36 PM

    @aigraiders

    Yea, the did install the nets behind the goal as a result of that. Your right

  54. db105 says: Jul 9, 2011 2:39 PM

    Most people have poor judgement. If alcohol is factored in the poor judgement is magnified.

  55. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 9, 2011 2:40 PM

    @Chaseright

    This isn’t a one in a million thing, nor is it the first time someone has fallen at the Ranger’s ballpark. It happened last year, and in 94 as well. However, both those people lived.

  56. rcali says: Jul 9, 2011 4:06 PM

    Should be a net there. End of story.

  57. nahcouldntbethat says: Jul 9, 2011 4:43 PM

    This is America. We have a plan for exactly this situation and it works:

    1. Sue the hell out of the stadium owners, the Rangers, the alcohol vendor, the player who hit the foul ball, the ball and bat manufacturer, whoever manufactured the railing, whoever installed it, whoever certified the area s safe for potentially inebriated people to occupy, etc.

    2. Let the parties named try to wiggle off the hook and get tossed out of the complaint.

    3. Let a jury decide which of the remaining defendants is liable in the man’s death.

    4. Let the monetary award determine what actions the liable parties take to limit their exposure to this type of action in the future.

    5. Celebrate American Exceptionalism to our heart’s content, pointing out freely to anybody who will listen that whatever flaws our system has it’s better than anything else out there.

    All the while failing to recognize that the minute we need to point out American Exceptionalism it has failed to exist, because one of the qualities of exceptionalism is that nobody even thinks about it. It just is.

  58. ticewasbetter says: Jul 9, 2011 4:46 PM

    That poor boy, prayers out to that lil man…

  59. kahanapaniolo says: Jul 9, 2011 5:31 PM

    Much Aloha to the family. This is a tragic accident. The stadium is above local codes. For those who say a net is best, they used to have one. Guess what everyone was doing? Jumping over the rail onto the net and grabbing balls. It was removed because they felt it was unsafe having numerous people on the safety net. No blame here. Just a terrible incidence.

  60. dasmol says: Jul 9, 2011 5:41 PM

    You can only do so much to protect people from themselves.

    Remember the idiot that jumped out of the stands to catch a field goal several years back?

    The blame falls solely on the poor man that fell to his death.

  61. joemac1114 says: Jul 9, 2011 6:01 PM

    Its all on the guy who fell is what I read from many of you. And many of you will believe that until something similar happens to you or your family, then the tune changes. Loudly.

    At some point when you know you are putting people into situations where the can be injured maybe a little extra caution is needed. Particularly where there is distraction based upon the activity on the field and in the stands.

    I am sorry for the loss his wife and children suffer today.

  62. dempsey63 says: Jul 9, 2011 6:07 PM

    dasmol says:

    You can only do so much to protect people from themselves.

    Remember the idiot that jumped out of the stands to catch a field goal several years back?

    * * * * *

    How that guy survived is beyond me. He fell over 20 feet onto solid concrete and yet (as I recall) walked away with minimal injuries. Oh, and–presumably–a football.

  63. dmretrogames says: Jul 9, 2011 6:36 PM

    “This isn’t a one in a million thing, nor is it the first time someone has fallen at the Ranger’s ballpark. It happened last year, and in 94 as well. ”

    The Rangers average over two million in attendance every year. It’s happened three times in 18 years, so it’s at most a one in twelve million thing.

  64. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 9, 2011 9:55 PM

    @dmretrogames

    The Rangers average over two million in attendance every year. It’s happened three times in 18 years, so it’s at most a one in twelve million thing.

    ——————–

    Don’t you think 3 people’s lives being severely endangered in a span of 20 years mean that something needs to be done, just something as simple as a net or raising the railing?

  65. dpac11 says: Jul 10, 2011 3:28 AM

    Ok, I’m sorry Mike… I’ve been following you and this site for over a year and a half, mostly about football and have respected and enjoyed your articles. But I am also a die-hard fan of the Texas Rangers and must disagree with you.

    1st of all I would like to point out that the child was only 6 years old, not 8, something you should know about an article this serious. 2nd, you keep saying throughout this article that the railing was not high enough… but in reality the railing actually EXCEEDS the safety standard for which most stadiums have in place as you can see on: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers.

    I am not trying to bash you what so over, but I do believe this story deserves your utmost attention, as I know you have a son yourself. It also deserves to have the proper facts and for you to blame the Texas Rangers organization for not having high enough railings, please… get your facts straight before you publish something like this.

  66. bobk9 says: Jul 10, 2011 5:16 AM

    From looking at this, it seems he was doing what is natural at a ball game, bringing a glove and attempting to catch a ball. He did not ‘leap’ over the railing. He fell. The designer of the park clearly failed to provide a safe environment to participate in the game as an average fan.

    I think with the big money that baseball has, they should put his kids through college and pay his mortgage and grocery bills well into the future.

    In short, the people overseeing fan safety at this park failed big time.

  67. chazatlas says: Jul 10, 2011 9:47 AM

    Baseball SUCKS anyway. Talk about boring as hell. America’s biggest yawn. Dying at a baseball game is like dying at a Tim Pawlenty rally – you shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Guys, take your kids to play putt-putt. They will have fun and you won’t be so bored that you are forced to drink.

  68. 1bigtex says: Jul 10, 2011 9:53 PM

    Over 44 million patrons have attended games to watch the Rangers play at home. Three people have fallen over the railing and one of those was sitting on it while posing for a picture. The point of view of the author sounds like a knee-jerk reaction without bothering to research the facts. I’m quite certain that’s the first time the author ever issued such a reaction.

  69. dmretrogames says: Jul 12, 2011 3:36 PM

    “Don’t you think 3 people’s lives being severely endangered in a span of 20 years mean that something needs to be done, just something as simple as a net or raising the railing?”

    If you raise the railing, or extend it out, people will climb out on it to catch a ball. Look at the moron at the All Star game home run derby.

    341 people lose their lives every year….in the bathtub. Should we require safety nets there, too?

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