Rangers Have Son of Fallen Fan Throw First Pitch (VIDEO)

cooper stoneRemember a couple of months ago when that poor Rangers fan, Shannon Stone, died after he fell over the outfield railing in an attempt to catch a ball tossed to him by outfielder Josh Hamilton? And remember how his 6-year-old son, Cooper, was sitting next to him and saw the whole awful thing? Well, Cooper can now have a somewhat non-horrific association with Rangers Ballpark, because he just got to toss out the first pitch of the playoffs to his favorite player: Josh Hamilton.

Fifty thousand fans watched, many with tears in their eyes, as the boy threw the first pitch in honor of his firefighter father. Cooper wore a Rangers jersey featuring Hamilton's No. 32 and "Cooper" between the shoulders. After the pitch, Hamilton went to the mound to meet Cooper and his mother, Jenny, for the first time. He embraced them both.

It really is sweet that Hamilton took time to meet with them. But let's get real, this is basically Damage Control 101 on behalf of the Texas Rangers.

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I mean, of course this is all a very nice gesture -- one I'm sure Cooper will never forget. But the Rangers took a lot of heat after Shannon's death about their railings being too low. The most important thing they can do now is raise them -- which they have plans to do -- and raise them fast. It's great that Cooper got to throw the first pitch and it's great that they're building a statue of Shannon and Cooper, but let's get crackin' on the thing that's most imperative.

Cooper's mom seems very pleased with the fact that her son got to throw the first pitch, so I highly doubt she has any plans to sue (much to the Rangers' delight). In fact, she said in a statement -- released by the Rangers -- "They have turned a difficult return to The Ballpark into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cooper. Nothing could be more exciting for a boy than throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player. We are glad and grateful to be here to see the Rangers start their march to the World Series." And Cooper himself seems happy, too. But the whole thing, I don't know, sort of has this weird undertone of garnering positive publicity as opposed to flat-out caring about the family. I guess since everything has been accompanied by a press release of some sort.

I hope that the Stone family really truly heals from this nightmare of a situation -- and don't just feel temporarily satiated by fun opportunities and gifts.

Do you think the Rangers are merely doing damage control, or do they really care about the Stone family?


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