Part of my job is delivering bad news. Murders, fires, car crashes -- bad, sad, tragic things happen every day. Self-preservation and sanity often require me to distance myself from the stories I report. I have to have a short memory. I understand the story I'm delivering and I try to convey that. I understand the impact it has had/may have on people and I try to convey that. And then I allow that story and that emotion to wash out of my system.
But sometimes a story leaves a pit in my stomach and a hole in my heart. And I can't wash it away.
The story of Shannon Stone is one of those stories. He's the Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death Thursday night while reaching for a ball tossed into the stands by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Stone was at the game with his young son. I can imagine the thrill as that ball was coming his way -- the anticipation of handing that souvenir to his little boy. The thought that must have been passing through his head as he reached for that ball, "My son is never going to forget this." He was right, of course, for the wrong reasons.
Stone fell 20 feet, but was conscious when paramedics got to him. He was moving. He was talking. He asked someone to check on his son, who was alone in the bleachers -- looking down at his dad -- no doubt confused and scared. But within the hour, Stone was dead.
The story breaks my heart. I don't know Shannon Stone. I don't know his son. But I'm like him. I'm a baseball fan. And I'm a dad. Just this past weekend, as the Mets rallied to beat the Yankees, I saw my daughter get more excited about a baseball game than I'd ever seen her get.
I look forward to sharing the game with my daughter and with my son for many, many years to come. Maybe someday I'll even be able to get them a game ball. If that happens, I will think about Shannon Stone's son -- who went to a ballgame with his dad and went home without him.
No title song today