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Man dies after falling 20 feet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

by Derrick Johnson on July 8, 2011

Tragedy struck at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday night, when a fan fell 20 feet to his death while attempting to catch a ball thrown his way by Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, ESPN.com reports.

Medical officials identified the victim as 39-year-old firefighter Shannon Stone, who was attending the game with his young son. Witnesses say that he asked Hamilton for a foul ball that was hit their way. After Hamilton tossed the ball, Stone caught it and, despite efforts of fellow fans to catch him, flipped over the railing, landing on the concrete below.

The man was apparently conscious by the time paramedics reached him and was taken out on a stretcher. Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Brad Ziegler, who was nearby when it all happened, told ESPN that he was asking for his son as he was wheeled out.

The event shook some of the players, and Rangers president Nolan Ryan said that Hamilton himself is especially upset over the situation.

"Josh is very distraught over this as the entire team is, [we're] very heavy-hearted about this," Ryan said in a statement. Rangers manager Ron Washington hasn't said whether or not he'll give Hamilton the day off on Friday to deal with the situation.

This isn't the first time that a fan has fallen from a considerable height at the park. Last July, a fan fell about 30 feet and suffered several injuries including a fractured skull and a sprained ankle. Rangers officials raised the bar slightly after the incident, and the man cited it as an accident. Similarly, in 1994 a 28-year-old woman fell while posing for a photo and broke her arm.

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