A fan reaching to catch a ball died after he fell over the left-field wall at Rangers Ballpark during a Major League Baseball game.
The man, whose name hasn’t been released, had been reaching over the rail for a foul ball tossed into the stands by Texas Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton during the second inning against the Oakland Athletics.
The man, who was sitting in the left-field lower-level reserved seats, fell about six metres into the area behind a wall supporting a video screen.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Nolan Ryan, Rangers chief executive and president.
It is routine for players to throw balls that are out of play into the stands.
“As anyone would be, Josh is very distraught about this, as the whole team is,” Ryan said.
The Rangers’ TV broadcast did not show the incident, but the A’s broadcast did, returning to it during a break in the action on the field.
Ronnie Hargis was sitting next to the man, who was at the game with his young son.
“He went straight down. I tried to grab him, but I couldn’t. I tried to slow him down a little bit,” Hargis said.
Witnesses said the victim’s head was bleeding badly.
David Dodson was at the game with his daughter and saw the fall.
“Just as the ball hit his hand, it kind of threw him off balance and he just went head-first,” Dodson said.
“It looked awful because you knew there was no way he was going to land on his feet…the way he fell, it looked like it was just straight on his head.”
The Rangers played the rest of the game, winning 6-0, without knowing the spectator had died.
“We knew about it, but we didn’t know exactly what had happened,” manager Ron Washington said.
On July 6, 2010, a fan plunged nine metres from the upper deck at the stadium while trying to catch a foul ball.
The 25-year-old landed on several people, suffering a fractured skull and a sprained ankle.
In 1994, a 26-year-old woman fell 10 metres from the upper deck and suffered fractured vertebrae, broken ribs and teeth, and shoulder and leg injuries.
After that incident, the Rangers raised some of the railings and added warning signs.
Buford Balony says: But did he make the catch?