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Get The Ball!

by Nick Vitrano

Back in July of 2011, Shannon Stone fell to his death at a Rangers game, performing a generally benign act, one replicated countless times every night at every baseball stadium across the country – leaning over the railing for a ball.  It was and remains a tragedy, compounded by the wife he left behind and the son who had no choice but to watch.

I don’t have the statistics.  I don’t know that we ever could accurately record a statistic of this nature.  But I’m confident that the probability of falling in this manner period, much less to one’s death, is less than being in a plane crash.  But Shannon Stone's story is not the first and won't be the last.

You can raise the railings.  The Rangers did just that.  You can push back the seats from the railings.  Just about every stadium in America has done that.  But no matter how high, how solid, how many ushers you put in place, people will climb and jump and lean for a baseball.  It’s human nature.  And though I don’t understand it…it’s a freakin’ baseball for crying out loud…I’m certainly not above it.  I once jumped down a drainage well at County Stadium to get a Robin Yount home run.  It had to be a 7 or 8 foot drop, for a baseball. 

A baseball!  

People lose all sense at the prospect of securing this spherical souvenir.  And it’s bad enough when one puts himself in danger, but most folks don’t stop there.  Check out this candidate for “Father of the Year:”