Last night a man brought his son to a baseball game, and ended up losing his life. Enough is enough, Major League Baseball has to act now. MLB has to adopt a zero tolerance safety policy going forward on this. There should be a drive from the highest parts of baseball to ensure that not one more of its paying fans are injured or worse at a baseball game, ever again.
In case you haven’t seen it as yet, during last night’s Rangers game, against Oakland, a firefighter from Brownwood called Shannon Stone fell twenty feet from the stands trying to catch a ball thrown by Josh Hamilton. The tragedy is exacerbated by the knowledge that, while being carted away with what would prove to be terminal injuries, Brown selflessly asked the Paramedics to; ‘Please check on my son. My son was up there by himself.’
Ones thoughts go out first and foremost to Brown’s family but also to Josh Hamilton, who strikes you as a very thoughtful person, and will no doubt bear this heavily weighted cross with understandable hardship. Hopefully the Rangers can help him through.
To the incident itself. MLB needs to completely eradicate tragedies like this. It is a reasonable expectation that whether you are paying $20 for a ticket in Texas, or $2,500 for one in New York, you will be, above all, safe while watching the game. MLB owes it to its high paying customers to provide them complete and utter safety while buying into and enjoying their product. These tragic incidents are happening too often, and it is time for MLB to act. Just last July another man was severely injured falling 30 feet at Rangers ballpark, and this May a man fell 20 feet at the Rockies ballpark, dying from his injuries. Once is a tragedy, three times in the space of a calendar year is borderline irresponsibility on not only the part of the teams but mainly on the part of MLB.
MLB is certainly diligent enough when it comes to policing MLB TV content on sites such as YouTube and such, hopefully they will approach a necessary safety audit with as much aggressive vigour. It is their product, and thus their ultimate responsibility to ensure each club strives to maintain 100% safety protocols and procedures at their ballparks. The clubs will have to implement safety strategies, but it is up to MLB to police this absolutely necessary action.
MLB can ensure that Shannon Stone’s heart breaking death is not in vain. They can, in Mr. Stone’s name, implement a complete and utter lockdown policy on safety in Major League ballparks across the United States. They can lead by example to football, hockey, basketball and indeed all other sports, and even Worldwide.
Of all the worthy tributes that will be paid to Mr. Stone in the coming days and weeks, the most meaningful will be if Major League Baseball ensures that an incident as terrible as this never, ever happens again.