Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old Texas Rangers fan, fell to his death while trying to catch a foul ball tossed to him by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton at Thursday nights game. Stone, who was at the game with his 6-year-old son, fell 20 feet over the left-field railing and landed on his head. He was taken to Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office where he later died.
But unfortunately these types of incidents are not completely unusual, Fox News reported. Last July, a fan toppled out of the Ballpark at Arlington's second deck onto the field-level seats and was injured. And on the first day the ballpark opened in 1994, a woman fell 35 feet and suffered several broken bones and neck fractures.
This was, however, the first incident in Arlington in which a fan fell well reaching for a ball tossed by a player, a practice that might be examined moving forward.
Our players are encouraged to be fan-friendly and we will carefully review this incident with our clubs to continue to ensure a safe environment for our fans, MLB said in a Friday statement.
Still, an expert suggests that it might be wise to re-examine the design of the ballpark.
There's a significant probability of this type of fall occurring at least once in the life of a stadium,' said Jake Pauls, a consultant based in Silver Spring, Md., and who has pushed for harsher safety codes in stadiums, arenas and theaters. For this to be the third incident since the stadium first opened says a lot.
Fox News reported that other fans injured or killed by falls in recent years include:
- Sept. 17, 2003: A fan fell to his death from the right-field wall while attending a Giants game at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco
- June, 26, 2009: A man fell out of the upper deck during a St. Louis Cardinals-Minnesota Twins game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
- Nov. 20, 2010: An intoxicated man fell out of the upper deck and injured the fan he fell on during an Auburn home football game at Tiger Stadium; both were hospitalized.
- Nov. 28, 2010: A man died after he fell at least 20 feet during a Philadelphia Eagles-Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
- May 24, 2011: A 27-year-old man died three days after falling about 20 feet and striking his head on concrete during the seventh inning of a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field in Denver.