Baseball game turns tragic for father, son

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at

I’m usually not affected by sad stories.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

I’ve heard tons of heart-wrenching ones in my 23 years in journalism, a profession that has turned me into a hardened cynic.

But I was deeply moved by the Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death last Thursday night after trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands by outfielder Josh Hamilton.

You’ve probably read the story – or even seen the YouTube video – of Shannon Stone, a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, falling over the first railing at Rangers Ballpark. At his side was his 6-year-old son, Cooper, who could only watch as his father fell 20 feet onto a concrete slab.

They were at the game together, father and son, enjoying a sport that has been a common link to so many fathers and their sons through the generations.

And to tell you the truth, that’s probably what has affected me the most about this story. From everything I’ve read, Stone and his son were inseparable, and baseball was something they both loved.

They even stopped to buy a glove on the way to the game.

“He was an outstanding dad,” Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He brought Cooper into my office, and it was clear they idolized each other. That’s why this is so tragic. That young boy was there for a night of fun, a night of baseball.”

Witnesses say Stone was conscious after he fell. His first words were about his son. He wanted to make sure somebody would look after Cooper, who was surrounded by people he didn’t know. The boy then had to ride in the front seat of the ambulance that took his father to the hospital.

Shannon Stone’s funeral is today.

Coming Tuesday: Georgia football coach Mark Richt talks about family, faith and adoption and other issues in Part 1 of a Q&A that I had with him last week.

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

8 comments Add your comment


July 11th, 2011
1:44 pm

I had not heard about this incident prior to this blog. Such a sad tragic accident.

Mr. Jane Goose

July 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Great, more sports analogies. Yawn….

Tomorrow a football coach… Can’t wait to miss that.

I think I actually yearn for uptight, neurotic, psychotic Theresa.

mystery poster

July 11th, 2011
1:54 pm

Methinks there’s a new troll on board.


July 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

What an awful thing for the poor kid to witness!


July 11th, 2011
3:08 pm

I read about this, but I could not watch the video of it..It was to sad to even think about this poor child seeing that happen to his Dad..

@Mr. Jane Goose..We are always happy to have new people on here, but really dude, grow a pair, pick out a real name and quit being a overgrown turd..


July 11th, 2011
4:19 pm

Horrible tragedy. A child has lost a great dad and the community has lost a much needed public servant. I’m reminded of the saying “only the good die young” when I read a story like this and a comment like the one posted by Mr. Jane Goose. What a heartless person. I’d pray for you, but I’m not really all that Christian so, I’ll just try hard not to get carried away with mean thoughts and continue to enjoy my day.


July 11th, 2011
7:03 pm

Thank you for highlighting this story. Positive stories @ the relationships of fathers and their children aren’t told nearly often enough. It’s a horrible ending but their relationship seems to have been amazing and we should celebrate that in and of itself.


July 11th, 2011
8:19 pm

So sad….I feel for his entire family and especially his son.