Rangers president Nolan Ryan called the death of fan Shannon Stone on Thursday night "one of those freak accidents that happen" but also said that Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was inspected today and is within code.
The Rangers plan to set up a memorial fund for the Stone family, which will be up and available tonight. Ryan said that he spoke today with Stone's wife, Jenny, who is concerned about the effect the death will have on their son, Cooper. Ryan said that the boy is 6 years old.
"It's one of the saddest things I've ever seen at a ballpark," Ryan said. "As a father and a grandfather, my heart goes out to the family.
"It was a tragedy we had last night. It hits us at the roots of who we are. We’re about making memories, about family entertainment, and last night we had a father and a son at the game and had a very tragic incident. It just drives it to the core of what we’re about and the memories we try to make in this game for our fans."
Both teams will wear black ribbons or arm bands tonight, and the flags at Rangers Ballpark will be at half staff throughout the weekend. A black tarp has been placed over the area where the fall occurred to prevent fans from taking pictures or videos. Ryan, at the family's request, has also requested that any videos of the incident be removed. The Star-Telegram has complied with the request.
Players were given permission to arrive late today, and a counselor has been made available to all club personnel. The clubhouse doesn't open to the media until 3 hours, 30 minutes before first pitch. Ryan said that he hasn't spoken to any of the players since last night, but he expects Josh Hamilton to play tonight. Hamilton threw the ball that Stone reached over the railing to catch before slipping an falling some 20 feet head-first.
Stone was alive and conscious when moved to an ambulance to be transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He suffered full cardiac arrest en route and was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m., some 53 minutes after the fall. His son was riding in the front of the ambulance, said Ryan.
-- Jeff Wilson