The 2012 baseball season started off well for the Texas Rangers on Friday with a victory over the Chicago White Sox. But there was also something else that will be memorable for a family on opening day. If you remember what happened at a Rangers home game last season, you will know what I am talking about.
Shannon Stone was the man, the father, who fell to his death while reaching for a ball that was tossed by Ranger’s outfielder Josh Hamilton. Stone fell over the railing between him and the outfield wall, and plunged 20 feet to his death. It was a freak accident and an absolute tragedy. Stone, a firefighter, was with his son, Cooper (6), and was trying to catch the ball, thrown by Hamilton, to give to his son as a memento.
As Stone was being rushed to the hospital, he kept telling people to check on his son to make sure that his son was OK. I couldn’t imagine witnessing something like that at such a young age. I can’t imagine how Hamilton feels about the situation. 999,999 out of a 1,000,000 times, a major leaguer makes that play. I certainly don’t place blame on anyone in this situation. It was a freak accident that hopefully never happens, again.
Even though it has been nine months since the tragic death of Shannon Stone, the Rangers organization has done everything in their power to make the grieving process easier for the Stone family. Cooper threw out the first pitch before the first game of the 2011 American League Divisional Series. You can see that right here (I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU WATCH IT). If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I will have you know this. To show how much they care about their fans and, in particular, this man, the Rangers had someone create a bronze statue of both Shannon and Cooper. That statue is located right outside the stadium. But it doesn’t just symbolize Shannon and Cooper. It symbolizes the bond between father and son. I know it sounds cliché; baseball is a father-son game.
But when you break it down, isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s about creating a bond, something that a father and son have in common. If you have ever played catch before, who was the first person that played catch with you? Your father. Who was the guy that taught you how to hold a bat or oil your glove? Your father. Who was the guy that threw you batting practice because he was perfect for it? Your father.
What stands outside The Ballpark in Arlington isn’t just a statue for Shannon and Cooper. It’s a statue for every father-son pair that walks in and out of the ballpark.
This is might the classiest gesture by a pro sports team.
While Cooper doesn’t have a father, he always knows where he can find him.
At the ballpark.
Here are some related articles to the story: