During the Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona last night, a baseball fan named Keith Carmickle almost followed in the footsteps of Shannon Stone, the Texas Rangers' fan who fell to his death last week. When a ball was struck into the stands, Carmickle climbed up on a narrow table, leaned forward, and lost his balance. If it hadn't been for the quick reflexes of his friend, Aaron Nelson, who grabbed his legs, and his brother, Kraig, who grabbed him around the arms, Carmickle would have fallen the same 20 feet Stone fell, landing on a hard deck below. Incredible. You almost cannot help but slap your forehead. What was this guy THINKING?!
I guess he wasn't, right? After the incident, he told reporters, "I stepped up on the table, I missed the ball by two or three feet and went over. I thought, 'I've lived a good life.'" Wow. He literally had a brush with death; I can't believe he remained so calm.
As it turned out, Carmickle and his buddies had already caught home-run balls and were hoping to "add another to their collection." Could that really have been worth what the guy went through??
What really galls me is that now, given the crazy fact that this incident so swiftly followed Stone's tragic death, Major League Baseball is in a total tizzy, trying to figure out what they can do to better manage and promote "crowd safety."
But the way I see it is that it's not their fault! These are grown-up, adult men who should KNOW better than goofing around in the stands during a baseball game the same way a kid would on the monkey bars at recess. I mean, seriously, what can or should the league even do? Remodel all the ballparks as bouncy castles, as one Gawker commenter suggested? Give me a break.
I'm not saying it's not terrible that Stone passed away, or that Carmickle could have. But the fact is that they took their lives in their own hands when they decided to make a dangerous move, be that drinking so much that you precariously launch yourself after a ball or simply launching yourself without THINKING first. Sure, I love the tradition of baseball. I love the peanuts, the beer, singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field. I know how it feels to get swept up in the spirit of it all. But risking your life to catch a damn ball is the ultimate in ridiculous.
It's not the MLB's job to remind other fans of that or to save these fans from themselves.
Here's the CBS News video of the incident:
What do you think should be done about this risky fan behavior?
Image via CBS News