With 2011 drawing to a close, the Shannon Stone tragedy at Rangers Ballpark is appearing on most, if not all, of the year-end retrospectives.
And while many of those lists will simply note the accident that led to the 39-year-old father falling to his death after trying to catch a ball thrown by Josh Hamilton, the New York Times Magazine scored an interesting interview with Stone's parents. Though neither Al or SuZann Stone get into the details of the fall or its effects on young Cooper Stone — a public stance that has been m.o. since the tragedy — they relate a story about how Al once caught a foul ball from Buddy Bell when Shannon was young.
Shannon Stone liked Bell as much as Cooper likes Josh Hamilton now and the foul ball quickly became a family treasure. Because of that, Al and SuZann knew exactly why Shannon made the effort he did — and why Hamilton shouldn't think twice about continuing the practice of throwing baseballs into the stands as souvenirs.
From the NYT Magazine:
SuZann: Shortly after the accident, there was some discussion about whether foul balls should be thrown into the stands to the fans. I wrote to Josh Hamilton, and I said: "Please, don't stop throwing those balls. Because that's so important. That's why daddies bring their little boys to the ballgame is for memories like that. Please don't stop."As someone who immediately identified with this sentiment, I like that SuZann Stone wrote that letter to Josh Hamilton. If someone that close to Shannon Stone can identify that it was a freak occurrence, the cynics that predictably surfaced after the accident should be able to, as well. *(end of story)
Z: I post this for two reasons: One is the beautiful 'absolution' of Josh Hamilton, who just might still be feeling pretty awful about what happened, and two, and almost most importantly, the ATTITUDE: I'm very often writing about how we can't make things better all the time or protect everyone all the time, that human nature is what it is and accidents will happen no matter what. This seems to be something the Left can't or won't grasp in their supposed hopes that everybody's always healthy and happy. For example, it's not much of a stretch to believe that some would forever prohibit the lifelong tradition of ball players throwing balls into the stands because of this tragic story. The Right grieves every bit as much as anyone else for Shannon Stone and his family, but wouldn't dream of prohibiting all the fun future children will have for having had a daddy catch a ball from their favorite player. Yes, I hate to make something political out of a story like this, but Mrs. Stone's words resonated with me and I thought they might with you, too. It shows a LOT about her and it should make us cautious about what we ban in the future for the sake of one tragic accident.