Home > Uncategorized > Fan Falls Out Of The Stands, Dies At Texas Rangers Game

Fan Falls Out Of The Stands, Dies At Texas Rangers Game

Eleven months ago, I wrote about how it felt to basically watch a man die on a baseball field. It’s surreal. You don’t know how to react. Once I realized what was occurring in front of me, a state of emotionless shock kind of fell over me.

On Thursday night, I can wonder how thousands felt as they watched a fan fall to his death during the second inning of the A’s-Rangers game in Texas. I’ve had trouble embedding the video, but you can view it here. Fair warning: It’s pretty shocking to watch.

Although the audio seems insensitive, I can’t chastise the Athletics announcers for their chuckles; they have no idea what happened to the fan in that moment. As far as they know, he’s clumsy, but he’ll be OK.

That’s one of the scarier parts of this story: It looked like he would be OK. The man, whose identity has not yet been made public as of this writing, was conscious as he was being treated by medics. He was talking to them about the safety of his son. He was moving his limbs. To the people around him, he appeared stable.

But after taking that much force to the head, everything was not what it seemed. It reminds me a lot of what happened to Liam Neeson’s wife a couple of years ago. One second, everything looks copacetic. Then something snaps. It’s too late by then. Just another episode on how fragile this existence is.

One year and one day earlier, another fan fell an estimated 30 feet out of the stands reaching for a foul ball at the Ballpark in Arlington. I’m sure this latest tragedy coupled with that will bring about calls for the Ranges to do something about its seating safety. But really, what else can be done? Look at those railings; they blocked the man up to his waist. That height should be enough to keep anyone from falling over the top. If you want to put another rung around each section in the stadium, you’re probably going to be dealing with some serious fan obstruction.

Now, I’ve set myself up with that last sentence. I’m sure someone will say, “I’d definitely rather have the fans be obstructed and safe than falling to their deaths.” But that’s assuming what’s already in place in Arlington is unsafe, and that’s just not true. It’s fine. But when you’ve got someone leaning that far out over the railing to catch a ball, you’re asking for problems.

I feel forced to contradict myself because of this story. See, I talk a lot about empathy in my life, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a few times in this blog. But it’s hard for me to feel empathy for people who get hurt as a result of doing stupid, selfish things for stupid reasons. Instead, I feel for everyone else.

I feel awful for the fans nearby in that section who watched the fan fall some 15-20 feet. How many times will they replay that scene in their minds during the coming weeks? Months? Years?

I feel for Josh Hamilton, who threw the foul ball specifically to that fan. Hopefully he does not rack himself with guilt. He holds no fault here. He was just trying to appease a spectator who really wanted a baseball.

But no one in this matter is in my heart today more than the man’s son, who you can clearly see standing behind his dad in the video. I’d say he’s about 7 years old. He looked straight down on his father as he plunged to his concrete below.

Just imagine how it all began: The evening started out with a father and son spending a night together at the ballpark. Pure Americana.

Less than an hour later, for all intents and purposes, that young boy watched his father die right in front of him. An extremely traumatic experience, especially for someone of that age, that boy’s life has been changed forever. He will grow up without his father.

Why? Not because of natural causes or the cruel actions of another person. His father is dead because he really wanted a baseball.

Nope, I’m sorry, but I have no empathy for that. Only extreme frustration.

To everyone else in his family, I send you my sincerest condolences. You don’t deserve this pain. As one of the announcers said in that video clip, just for a baseball.

Just for a damn baseball!

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