Terror gripped Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas when a fan fell 30 feet from the upper deck while trying to catch a Nelson Cruz foul ball Tuesday night.
Eyewitness accounts of the fall, which was not caught on video, say the middle-aged Texas fan fell from the Club Concourse section. As he fell, he tried to grip the railing of the Suite Section one level down before finally landing on the field level section below.
Much of the broadcast video has already been removed from YouTube and other web sources (including the original link from this story) as MLB has been using their Copyright leverage to keep this situation as under wraps as possible.
Home plate umpire Chris Guccione reacted in such a visceral way to seeing the fan fall—more violently than I've ever seen an official react to anything before—that it is hard to see how he could refocus and call a game after that.
Two Cleveland Indians players, left fielder Trevor Crowe and shortstop Jason Donald, immediately dropped to the ground and appeared to be praying for the fallen fan.
Vladimir Guerrero and Cruz looked on with stunned disbelief in their eyes.
Fans were crying and even the announcers of both teams had trouble describing the spectacle while their voices began to tremble.
The game was stopped for 16 minutes while emergency workers were able to take the fan out on a stretcher.
After the game resumed, the stadium resembled a mausoleum. You could hear a pin drop.
Even with the hometown Rangers pounding the Indians 12-1, the stunned Rangers faithful could not bring themselves to cheer.
Which raises the question, should this game have continued at all under these circumstances?
Remember, little kids are in the crowd—witnessing a tragedy that even grown men seemed to be having trouble digesting.
It seems like if games can be postponed due to rain, they can certainly be postponed do to traumatic events such as these. The ensuing silence from the Rangers fans seemed to indicate they would have been okay with that.
I am just wondering how umpires and players are supposed to settle in and forget what they just saw and play good baseball. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill adversity that all athletes are expected to face and overcome.
They had to have been thinking that they just witnessed a man die.
These are the times when you have to acknowledge that this is all just entertainment and look at the big picture. Did MLB really think the fans that remained were going to be entertained after that?
From the sound of the crowd, they were far from it. If the scoreboard was any indication, it seems as though the players lost their focus as well.
As of Wednesday morning, there is no word as to the condition of the fan that fell, other than he was able to move all of his extremities. MLB and the Texas Rangers are continuing to be highly cautious on how they release information regarding this story.
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