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Tragedy at the ballpark

Updated on July 9, 2011

Coping with tragedy

Father dies trying to catch baseball for his son

Going to a baseball game with your child is usually a fun and exciting experience that has lasting memories. On July 7. 2011 at the ball park in Arlington, Texas a foul ball was hit to the outfield and Josh Hamilton, the outfielder innocently threw the ball into the stands and Shannon Stone, a firefighter attending the game with his 6 year old son reached out to catch it losing his balance and falling approximately 20 feet. He was conscious after the fall as paramedics immediately rushed to attend to him and he was concerned about his son who was alone in the stands and he asked that someone watch him. He was rushed on stretcher to the hospital where he died. This is such a very sad tragedy that you never expect to happen but unfortunately it did and you just wonder why.

It was captured on camera and you could see the ball was within reach but Shannon had to lean over to catch it and in doing so he lost his balance on the railing and flipped over it, falling forward and then straight down. The man standing to his side tried desperately to reach and grab him as he started to fall but could not grab hold as his son and all near by looked on in horror as he began to fall head first. One can only imagine what was going through his mind as he began to fall and what the poor son was thinking as he saw his father falling unable to control it. You know the fans at the game all would comfort the boy and that the officials at the ballpark would take care of him as family was notified of the tragedy.

I can not comprehend such a tragic occurrence and I truly feel for the father who shockingly lost his life trying to catch a baseball souvenir for his son. It just defies comprehension and there are so many people affected by this tragedy. I feel very sad for the boy who expected a fun night out with his dad at the game and now has to deal with his unexpected, tragic and premature death and living the rest of his life without his father. This certainly will affect him in so many ways and you hope he will get the much needed counseling he will need to help deal with such a devastating loss and absence in his young life.

Josh Hamilton has gone through so much in his life dealing with drug addiction which he battles every day and has done remarkably well as he has made a tremendous comeback. He now has to live with such a tragic event that evolved over the actions of a kind act of tossing a baseball into the stands. He will have to deal with this and you know he too will need to seek counseling and you feel for him as well.

Things like this are not supposed to happen especially for a father and son attending a baseball game together but the sad reality is they do happen and this is not the first time a tragic death like this has occurred at a sporting event. It is imperitive that necessary precautions be made now by the Texas Rangers and all organizations to insure the safety of their fans in the future at their sporting facilities. No one likes to point fingers but it is clear that the fencing was not sufficiently high enough to protect Shannon from falling and this is evident. The organization has reached out to the family and will do whatever they possibly can to try to ease their pain in some small way and insure that the loss of family income will be supplemented.

I often wonder why for some there has to be such great pain and loss that is so unexpected and comes without warning. It just goes to show how life is so very unpredictable and we can not take anything for granted. We can analyze why things happen and try to find answers but sometimes they come too late because the damage has already been done and all we can do now is try to learn from this very sad tragedy and try to do all we can to prevent it from happening again. A boy is now without a father and a well liked baseball player who has made so many personal strides now has to deal with this sad reality.

I will pray for Mr. Shannon Stone, a hero in his own right with many years served as a fire fighter and a loving father who only wanted to bring a smile to his son's face by catching a baseball for him and sharing a night together at the ballpark rooting for their team. I pray for his son who now is facing the toughest challenge he will ever have to face, the loss of his father. He saw with eager anticipation his father positioning himself to catch a baseball for him and then he sees him fall to his death. This is incomprehensible and so very sad. My heart goes out to this poor little boy. I also pray for the Stone family that they will be strong and hold up as best they can in dealing with this painful loss. I also will pray for Josh Hamilton, the outfielder who only wanted to please a fan and bring a smile to a little boy by throwing a baseball souvenir into the stands, and now has to live knowing that a father had died in trying to catch the ball for his 6 year old son. I hope that he can get through this and not blame himself for this tragedy. It was certainly not his fault that this happened. It was just a horrible freak accident that no one was prepared for.

Sometimes we witness something collectively through a news report and we view the sad and shocking reality and we too are impacted and feel affected. I know this is what makes us human and we all will try to hug our children a little bit tighter and be grateful that we can especially when we see tragedies like this and realize that anything can happen. God Bless the Shannon family and help them get through this sad tragedy.

The Texas Rangers and the Oakland A's wore black ribbons for Friday's game and the remainder of their series in honor of the Stone family and lowered their flag to half staff. They also set up a memorial fund for the Stone family. Nolan Ryan, the team President expressed his sympathies to the Stone family and is trying to cope with it and do all he can to help and prevent this from ever happening again.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Children Grieving

Tragedy at ballpark

Grieving for children


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