This is yesterday's news, but it took me 24 hours to begin to come to terms with it. From Jeff Wilson:
The Rangers have announced plans to erect at Rangers Ballpark a statue of Shannon Stone, the Brownwood firefighter who died after falling from the stands July 7. The statue, which is still being designed but should be ready by 2012, will feature Stone and his 6-year-old son, Cooper, who was attending the game with his father.
Yesterday, Jeff Sullivan ran a poll and the great majority of respondents considered this statue "weird and uncomfortable". That's how I voted.
Now that I've read more, I'm feeling a bit less weird and uncomfortable.
It's still sort of weird, though. Usually we erect statues to honor people who have done something particularly notable: helped found a great nation, won a famous battle, collected 3,000 base hits while wearing knickers ... you know, like that. With all due and great respect to Shannon Stone, he fell out of the stands while trying to cadge a free baseball.
Which isn't to diminish his death, which was obviously terribly tragic. I think honoring his memory works to the extent that Stone's admirable qualities as a father, a firefighter, and a baseball fan can be highlighted. Because otherwise, in the coming decades people will just stroll past his statue and say, "Hey, that's the guy who fell out of the stands and hit his head." Which you'll have to admit doesn't have much of a ring to it. So if the Rangers insist on doing this, they have to get everything just right.
Oh, and what about the little boy? It's not just a bit creepy to erect a statue of a little boy who's still alive and well? Is that really something a boy should have to grow up with, knowing that his six-year-old self will be forever cast in bronze and greeting millions of baseball fans every year?
I don't know. Maybe it'll be really cool for him. Maybe he'll go to a game every year and have his photo taken next to himself. Maybe it'll be perfectly fine for everyone.
It is a little weird, though. And I suspect uncomfortable, for someone. Were I running the Rangers, I would have waited a few more months, until the emotions had calmed down just a bit more. Then I would have set about figuring the perfect way to commemorate a great baseball fan and his tragic fate.