Last night, while I was on the phone with an old friend getting caught up on things, I learned that a fan had been killed at The Ballpark in Arlington while trying to catch a baseball in the stands on Friday night.
Over the years, there have been a number of fans who have lost their lives at both major league and minor league ballparks.
However, until this morning, I was unaware that Shannon Stone fell over the railing after Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed him a ball he wanted to give to his son. (H/T Greg Pollowitz at National Review.)
This certainly put things into a different light. It isn't to say that the circumstances surrounding the deaths of other fans at baseball games aren't less tragic but it certainly touches a raw nerve.
Stone, of course, wanted the ball for his son. That took me back to May 2005. I was at the Rogers Centre in Toronto with my Dad and older brother for a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox. Blue Jay infielders Eric Hinske and Orlando Hudson were playing catch down the first base line. We are sitting a dozen or so rows back. Dad calls out to Hinske, "Hey Eric!!!" and motions to him to throw the ball. Hinske tosses the ball and Dad makes a barehanded catch. He then hands me the ball. I was 32-years-old at the time, a grown man. And yet my Dad wanted me to have a baseball. And yes, I still have that ball.
I shudder at the thought of what would have happened had my Dad had been either killed or seriously injured under those set of circumstances. Now imagine how a six-year-old boy must feel.
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