More news today from the Texas Rangers. Railings will be raised at Rangers Ballpark as new safety measures have been put in place following the death of Shannon Stone, the 39-year-old firefighter who fell over the railing July 7th and died from his injuries.
First, an update on Nolan Ryan, CEO and President of the Club. He is doing well and resting at home following his recent overnight stay at a Houston hospital after complaining of chest pain. The 64-year-old had double coronary bypass surgery in 2000. He took time today to make a statement on their plan of action regarding safety at the ballpark.
“The safety of our fans is our top priority. The initiatives we are announcing today for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will help to ensure that we meet that priority.”
So what exactly will take place? The height of the front row rails will be raised to 42 inches. Of note, even the shortest of rails (30 inches) in the ballpark are up to code (26 inches). New signage will be placed along the rails that state, ‘Do not lean, sit on, or stand against rail’ and announcements will be made before each game reminding fans of such. Additionally, extra security will be on hand near where Stone had fallen, near left center.
Shannon Stone fell after trying to catch a ball from outfielder Josh Hamilton, and died from his injuries after he landed head first 20 feet below. Hamilton is still affected by Stone’s death and has plans of meeting with the firefighter’s family soon. Hamilton said, ‘It was a traumatic event. It’s going to be around for a while.’
Last week a fan had a close call reaching for a ball, this time at the Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. I was there watching as fan after fan jumped, dived and did whatever they could to catch one of those homers. I’m surprised that no one was hurt. Luckily for the fan, his friends were on hand to pull him back up over the railing. Someone was definitely watching over him.