The adult male who during tonight's game fell approximately 20 feet from section 5 in the left field lower reserved seats to the area behind the left field wall has died from injuries suffered in the fall. Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan issued the following statement:
"We are deeply saddened to learn that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
That man, we now know, was Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone, a Cleburne High graduate and 17-year-veteran of the fire department who was attending the game with his young son, Cooper. Stone fell after catching a foul ball tossed to him by Josh Hamilton; said Ron Washington after the game, when speaking of Hamilton, "I guess he's got to deal with it in his own way." Players knew of the fall, which occurred near the Oakland bullpen, but not the extent of Stone's injuries. From the Rangers' website:
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"When they had him on a stretcher and they were carrying him out, he was saying stuff like 'Please check on my son, he's left up there by himself.'" Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler said. "The people that carried him out reassured him that, 'We'll get your son, we'll make sure he's OK.' We just kind of assumed that he's talking, he's conscious, he'll be OK. To find out he's not is just ... tough."
Update at 11:30 a.m.: The Rangers have scheduled a 2:30 p.m. press conference with Ryan to discuss last night's tragedy. Also, notes the release from team spokesman John Blake: "All of the flags at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington have been lowered to half-mast in the memory of Shannon Stone. The Rangers will also observe a moment of silence in Mr. Stone's memory prior to Friday's game. More information will be available at the media briefing."
Update at 2 p.m.: In advance of the Rangers' press conference, Major League Baseball has issued the following press release:
"All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened over the tragic death of Mr. Stone last evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and his entire family. Major League Baseball has the utmost sensitivity to the safety of all the fans that come to our ballparks. 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."