Field of horror: Baseball fan dies after falling from stand
Published 08/07/2011 | 08:54
A man attending a Texas Rangers game with his young son died after falling out of the stands and about 20 feet to the ground while trying to catch a baseball tossed his way on Thursday night.
Arlington Fire Department officials said another fan tried unsuccessfully to grab the man to keep him from falling. They said the victim's son did not fall.
"We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball," team president Nolan Ryan said on Thursday. "As an organisation, and as our team members and our staff, we're very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family."
Ronnie Hargis was sitting in the stands at Rangers Ballpark next to the victim. The men were talking to each other before the accident.
"He went straight down. I tried to grab him but I couldn't," Mr Hargis said. "I tried to slow him down a little bit."
TV replays showed the man falling head-first and landing behind a 14-foot-high wall supporting a video board for replays and scores. The area where the man fell is out of sight from the field.
It is the second fatal fall at a MLB ballpark this season. In May, a 27-year-old man died after he fell about 20 feet and struck his head on concrete during the seventh inning of a Colorado Rockies game. Witnesses told police that the man had been trying to slide down a staircase railing at Coors Field and lost his balance during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Replays on Oakland's television broadcast show the man reaching for the ball and apparently catching it before falling.
There was an audible gasp in the stands when the man tumbled over the rail, eerily similar to an accident last July when a man fell about 30 feet from the second-deck of seats down the right-field line while trying to catch a foul ball.
Former US president George W Bush was sitting in the front row with Mr Ryan when the accident happened. Mr Ryan left moments later while Mr Bush remained in the seats. Mr Ryan said the former president, who used to be the team's managing general partner and is a frequent visitor to Rangers games, was aware of what was happening.