Baseball Tragedy as Fan Dies in Fall from Stands

A fan fell to his death at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday after catching a ball tossed to him by the Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton. The man was reaching for a ball thrown to him by Hamilton during the second inning of the match against Oakland and toppled over a railing after making the catch. Television pictures showed him falling some 20 feet from the outfield seats to a paved area behind a scoreboard. It is almost a year to the day since a similar accident at Rangers Ballpark when a fan named Tyler Morris fell from the second level to the lower bowl while trying to catch a foul ball on 6 July 2010. He suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle. “We are deeply saddened that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident,” the club’s president, Nolan Ryan, said in a statement on the Rangers website. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” The former US president George W Bush was sitting in the front row with Ryan when the accident happened. Ryan left moments later while Bush remained in the seats. The Rangers clubhouse was closed following the game as the players were informed of the tragedy. “We spoke to the ballclub, so they understand what happened,” Ryan said. “As any of us would be, Josh is very distraught over this.” Ronnie Hargis was sitting in the stands next to the victim, who was at the game with his young son. The men were talking to each other before the accident. “He went straight down. I tried to grab him but I couldn’t,” Hargis said. “I tried to slow him down a little bit.” Hargis’s daughter said the victim’s head was bleeding badly. Safawna Dunn, who was sitting behind the victim, said he appeared to have injuries to both arms and was conscious when taken away on a stretcher. “Josh Hamilton tried to throw [the ball] up to the guy because they were yelling for the ball,” Dunn said. Ryan said it was too early to talk about the two accidents and what evaluations the team may make about railings at the stadium. “Tonight, we’re not prepared to speak about anything further than the accident and the tragedy,” Ryan said. “That’s where I’m going to leave it.”

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