On July 7, Rangers fan Shannon Stone fell over a railing at Rangers Ballpark trying to catch a ball lobbed by Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton; Stone died after hitting his head on the concrete below.
Tuesday afternoon, the Rangers announced that they would be making safety upgrades to railings at the stadium. The team issued a statement:
“The safety of our fans is our top priority,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan said in a news release. “The initiatives we are announcing today for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will help to ensure that we meet that priority.”
The Rangers said that railings would be raised “to the highest standard in the United States at this time.” Further:
Because it will take time for the rails to be changed, the club is taking some immediate steps to remind fans to be careful.
The most prominent is adding signs near the rails that read, in all capital letters, “DO NOT LEAN, SIT ON, OR STAND AGAINST RAIL.” The same warning will be made before each game over the public-address system and on the scoreboards. Plus, stadium workers will more closely monitor the rails.
The death of Shannon Stone was a tragic accident that couldn’t have been predicted. Nevertheless, it is good that the Rangers are taking steps to help assure that such an accident never happens again. And it’s a reminder to everyone who attends baseball games to take care, and pay close attention to what’s around them and the action on the field as well.