A Rawlings major league baseball cost approximately $20. A ticket to a major league game cost $27 on the average. Food and drinks at a major league game cost families hundreds of dollars. Returning home from a major league game alive is priceless.
Baseball is America’s pastime. It’s a time when a man can enjoy a game of hits and strikes with his son. Over the years, however, the reasons for attending a game have changed from the usual gathering to view an exciting competitive contest to souvenir stockpiling. Fans bring gloves to the ballpark now in hopes of catching a ball that has found its way into the stands. Normally this would not have been a big deal but some fans are throwing caution to the wind while attempting to obtain baseball memorabilia. These careless acts have lead to several senseless deaths.
In July, a fan died while catching a ball that was thrown to him by a Texas Ranger outfielder at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. After the fan caught the ball, his momentum took him over the railing; where he fell headfirst 20 feet onto the concrete. His six year old son watched this tragedy unfold right in front of him. This was a sad turn of events but what makes this more upsetting is the fact that all this occurred over a baseball a fan could have purchased in a local sporting goods store for $20.
Rest in peace: Shannon Stone (09/24/71-07/07/11)
A couple days later after the Stone incident, a fan attending the Major League Baseball Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona nearly tumbled twenty feet over the railing chasing a homerun ball but was grabbed by his brother and a friend. He dangled over the railing for a few seconds before being pulled to safety.
In July 2010, a fan fell thirty feet while trying to catch a foul ball at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. He survived but suffered a fractured skull and sprained ankle from the accident.
After these calamitous occurrences one would hope the fans would take a serious approach when it comes to safety precautions. Baseball memorabilia doesn’t carry the same level of sentimental value as the value of one’s life. Life is more precious. Attending a major league baseball game and trying to catch a baseball for your son is a special moment, but being about to spend the rest of your life watching that child grow is incomparable.
A split second is all it takes. A quick snap of the fingers represents the small window of time a person has to make the correct decision. Now the ball is in the air coming your way while your son looks on as you adjust your glove and move toward the railing; the world observes your decision on live television. Will it be the ball or will it be your life?
Before you make your final decision just ask yourself, is trying to catch this baseball worth losing my life?