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Recently, baseball has been the hot topic on SportsCenter each day, right next to the Women’s World Cup soccer matches. I’m not that familiar with soccer, so I am going to focus on the happenings in the baseball world.
As any good reporter knows, there are always two sides to every story. In this case there is the good side and the bad (or sad) side.
The bad (or sad) news in this case, is something that happened at the ballpark in Arlington, Texas. In a game on July 7 between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers, a horrific and ultimately tragic accident occurred.
In the second inning, a foul ball was hit down the left field line that bounced off some seats and back into the field of play. A 39-year-old father and fan, Shannon Stone, who was attending the game with his 6-year-old son Cooper, had yelled out to Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton to toss them a foul ball. Hamilton had tossed a previous foul ball to one of the ball girls in the field, but acknowledged the request of Stone, and was going to toss the next ball his way.
The foul ball bounced off the seats and back into the field where Hamilton was. By holding up his end of the bargain, Hamilton tossed the ball in the direction of Stone. Stone, eagerly attempting to catch the ball, leaned over the railing to make the catch. Unfortunately, he lost his balance, and plummeted nearly 20 feet headfirst onto a concrete floor behind the stadium’s scoreboard.
The fans around the scene gasped loudly enough that it could be heard on the television broadcast. Emergency personnel rushed to the scene, and took Stone out of the stadium on a stretcher. At this point Stone was conscious, and reportedly asked emergency personnel to check on his 6-year-old son, who was now left alone after witnessing this horrific accident. However, less than one hour later, the baseball world was shocked to learn that Stone had passed away on the way to a local hospital after reportedly going into “full cardiac arrest”.
This was the second fatal fall of a fan in baseball this year. In May, a fan at a Colorado Rockies game fell 20 feet to his death.
These two incidents are bound to raise the question of what baseball will do to address this situation. At this point, Major League Baseball has issued no rule changes on players throwing balls into the stands, but this incident will most certainly put a damper on the activity.
OK. Now that I have totally bummed you out with this tragic story, I would like to bring you back up a bit. Just a mere two days after Stone’s fatal fall, baseball history was made. Derek Jeter became only the 28th member of the 3,000 hit club in Major League Baseball. Jeter entered the game with 2,998 hits, and looked to make history before his home fans.
Jeter entered the big leagues in 1995, and has played every game of his career with the New York Yankees. Due to this fact, Jeter also became the only player ever to reach 3,000 hits as a Yankee.
Being the first New York Yankee to do something is amazing, considering all of the hall of fame names that have donned the pinstripes. Jeter jokingly said after the game, “I would be proud to be the all-time Yankees leader in any category, even strikeouts”.
Jeter became the fourth youngest player to amass 3,000 hits, trailing only baseball royalty in Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, and Robin Yount. Jeter’s record breaking hit was a home run that tied the game, as part of a five hit day.
The only other player ever to hit a home run for their 3,000th hit was Jeter’s former teammate Wade Boggs.
At times, sports can be dramatic. Sometimes for very different reasons. In these two scenarios, both were shown at their climax. I would like to ask everyone to keep the Stone family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time, but on the other hand to realize the accomplishment that Derek Jeter has achieved.