As an outfielder, Nick Swisher tosses balls to fans when he can. Never once had he envisioned a scenario where a tragedy happened, such as what occurred Thursday in Texas when a fan died falling over the railing in the outfield while reaching for a ball that had been tossed to him by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
"I think after seeing that maybe there are times when we need to be a little more cautious as baseball player to say, hey, you know, these are big things, fans want baseballs and obviously last night we saw it could lead to some bad things," Swisher said. "But then again, I don't care if you have a million souvenir baseballs, that's not going to make up for that life."
Several Yankees players offered their sympathies for the family, the Rangers and Hamilton in the clubhouse Friday before their game against the Rays was rained out. They still could not believe what had happened in Texas just the night before, as some of them had never seen anything like it occur before at a game.
"It's sad, it's tragic. You feel terrible," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "There's no reason you should go to a ball game and have your life be threatened. It's just a really tough thing to see."
In the second inning of Thursday's game between the Rangers and Athletics, Hamilton tossed a foul ball to Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter who bad been asking for Hamilton to toss him the ball, according to ESPN Dallas.
As Stone grabbed the ball, he fell over the railing, approximated at 20 feet, and died at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to ESPN Dallas. Stone's mother, Suzann, told the Associated Press that Shannon had hoped to snag a ball at the game.
"Those dramatic accidents can happen. I feel bad for their family and feel bad for the Texas Rangers and I feel bad for Josh Hamilton," Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones said. "Every time when a player or anybody tosses a ball out there, people jump on each other trying to get the ball. I see people get hurt like that before too. Falling off and dying, that's tough."
Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson said he's amazed at what people will do a for a ball and he has seen people spill beer over one another, adults take balls from children and other examples of fans going wild for a ball. He too felt for Hamilton.
"It's got to be tough. You never want to be a part of anything like that. At the same time it wasn't anything that he purposefully did," Granderson said. "His intent wasn't to do it, it's going to be a tough thing but I think he'll be able to move on from it. I'm sure his thoughts and prayers go out to the family and the son that was there and apart of it but he'll continue to move forward and continue to play baseball if they're playing today."