Even on a good day, the mindless chatter from baseball announcers can force me to hit the mute button just to get through a game. But the day Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed a foul ball to an eager fan was nowhere close to a good one. And listening to a pair of announcers chuckle at Shannon Stone, as the fan lay dying in Rangers Ballpark, his pint-sized son watching in horror, makes my insides curdle.
Stone was just a dad at a game with his kid when he saw a chance to get a souvenir. Thanks to the kindness of Hamilton, he saw a foul ball coming his way, and he reached out over the outfield railing to catch it. And then he fell, tumbling 20 feet onto solid concrete. While his son was watching. While the announcers ragged on him for trying to make it onto the JumboTron.
Take a listen, but be aware, this video may be hard to watch. While you don't see Shannon Stone hitting the pavement, you know that it is a man falling to his death:
Perhaps it's just in hindsight that it comes across as crass. I'm going to wager a guess they didn't know Stone was dying. But pretend you don't know a man died and take a look at that little boy's face as he sees his dad falling out of the stands. Could you laugh? Me neither. They knew he fell. They knew it was dangerous. They knew he had to be hurt at the very least. And they chuckled.
That's the trouble with the jibber jabbing in the announcers' box at your standard game. They're trying to fill airtime, and in a slow-moving game like baseball, there's a lot of it to be filled. A few stints guest-hosting on a local radio show proved to me it's a job I couldn't do, to keep up the chatter and keep it intelligent. But the fact is, that's their job. They get paid a decent salary to keep talking, and they need to be connecting their brain to their mouth as they do it. A little common sense goes a long way ... when you see a man fall 20 feet, you don't laugh. It's crass.
Did the announcers make you cringe or would you give them the benefit of the doubt?
Image via YouTube