Terrible news out of Arlington, Texas.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Drew Davison, a man who fell 20 feet onto a concrete level Thursday evening at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has been pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Rangers president Nolan Ryan addressed the media shortly after the conclusion of Thursday’s game against the A’s, expressing “deep sadness” on behalf of the entire organization and its fans.
More from Davison and the Star-Telegram:
The fan tumbled over the railing at approximately 7:30 p.m. after asking Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton for a foul ball hit by Oakland outfielder Conor Jackson in the top of the second inning. Hamilton tossed the ball up to him, he leaned over and caught it and then went headfirst into the gap between the seats and out-of-town scoreboard.
The man has not currently been identified. Witnesses say he was a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas and was attending the game with his son, who looked to be around six or eight years old.
Several players who witnessed the fall were visibly shaken when informed of the news after the game.
UPDATE: More details on this awful incident can be found here.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.