More details on the death of Shannon Stone

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More details are available this morning on the death that occurred at the Ballpark at Arlington last night. The man’s name was Shannon Stone. He was a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas and, sadly, as preliminary reports noted, he was at the game with his young son, who watched the accident happen.

According to this Associated Press report, Stone was conscious after his fall, but went into cardiac arrest soon afterward and was pronounced dead within the hour.

After the game, Nolan Ryan gave a statement:

“We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball. As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we’re very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

As we figured last night, Ryan said that Josh Hamilton was “very distraught,” as is the rest of the team and the Oakland A’s as well.

Last year another fan fell at a Rangers game, suffering serious though non-fatal injuries. During the stadium’s first game in 1994, another fan fell, also suffering serious injuries. It’s premature for anyone to talk about whether there are any fundamental issues with that ballpark or if these accidents were merely coincidental, and Ryan wouldn’t discuss that last night.  It’s certainly the case, however, that such accidents aren’t confined to Arlington. In May a fan fell to his death at Coors Field while attempting to slide down a stairway railing.  Each year, it seems, there are one or two deaths at ballparks due to falls.

But after the shock wears off, such an analysis is in order. And, as always, fans should remember that ballparks are just like anyplace else: accidents can happen and one needs to be careful.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.