I'm glad I missed today's A's game. They got wrecked again, but I'm a lot more thankful that I didn't have to watch Rangers fan Shannon Stone fall reaching for a ball live. Tragically, Stone would die from the fall and our thoughts go out to his family, the Rangers, and their fans. Horrible...
My initial reaction upon hearing the news was wondering how it exactly happened and how it effected the broadcast and the game as I didn't really hear anything specific on those fronts. Here is the video of how it played out and unfortunately it features A's announcers Ray Fosse and Glen Kuiper being a bit too casual about the incident. The video below is not graphic but it is very morbid so view at your own discretion.
(***Ed Note: Because of the stated request of the Stone family, we have decided to take down the video footage and encourage all websites to do the same. You can also place a donation here in honor of Shannon Stone for the Stone family.)
Eeesh. Not good. It's hard for me to gauge how upset to be about the light hearted nature they show about the incident. They do seem to show some concern but definitely have a couple of brief moments where they're dismissive and folksy about the fall...
As an A's fan I'm lukewarm on both announcers and know that there will be a lot of criticism thrown their way and a lot of it is deservedly so.
At the end of the day, I am sure they feel horrible about what took place, how they handled it, and will make a sincere apology about it today. Bad things happen sometimes and for many it's natural to lash out if given the opportunity. Josh Hamilton, the Rangers, the ballpark's design, the A's announcers, the seating policies, and emergency services will all be under scrutiny here. This is no doubt, a terrible tragedy and Fosse and Kuiper showed poor judgement in the moments immediately after as they failed to realize the severity of the incident.
The reality is that you're not really trained for moments like this. Baseball more so than any sport fills the dead time by focusing on various fans and events in the crowd. Whether it's laughing at a boob grab, telling stories, or doing the bajillion promos, baseball announcers have to fill hours of no action with banter. In this moment that led to a very unfortunate exchange with the perspective of hindsight. If Stone survived it wouldn't be a story at all. Because he died, it's now a major story.
I think a suspension is possible, or maybe even a charitable donation in addition to the pending apology which we'll keep an eye out for. Nobody wanted this to happen and nobody in their right might would find it comical either. It's disturbing that it was handled that way but improvising dialogue to a one in a million scenario is no easy task. Just a sad situation all the way around.