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Texas Rangers issue apology after fans litter memorial with garbage (photo)


Two years ago, the Texas Rangers erected a touching and heartfelt memorial in honor of Shannon Stone, a fan who tragically died after falling over an outfield railing while reaching for a baseball tossed to him by Josh Hamilton.

Stone plunged 20 feet onto concrete below, right in front of his son, Cooper, who was six years old at the time.

The moving memorial is placed just outside the home plate entrance at Globe Life Park and on Opening Day on Monday, a photo was tweeted by Kami Mattioli showing how fans were using the memorial as a place to dispose of beer cans and other assorted items of debris and unwanted refuse before entering the stadium.

Once word spread of how the memorial was being used, the Rangers had no choice but to issue a statement of apology. It reads (via Deadspin):

“The Rangers certainly regret and apologize for the trash that accumulated on the Rangers Fans statue at the home plate gate this afternoon. With thousands of opening day fans, many of whom had been tailgating, entering the park in the 30 minutes before game time, large amounts of cans, bottles, and other items that are prohibited in the park, accumulated at all entrances. Numerous clean up calls came into the maintenance department in this period, and the club utilized a large number of employees to continually remove the vast amount of trash that was accumulating. The debris on the statue was removed in a timely manner but it should not have been allowed to be placed there in the first place. The Rangers Fans statue is a cherished component of Globe Life Park in Arlington and the club will make certain this situation does not occur in the future.”

The knee-jerk reaction to such a disappointing image is to castigate fans who could be so thoughtless as to use such a powerful statement of remembrance in such a crass manner. But asĀ The Dallas Morning News notes, security policies and procedures instituted by Major League Baseball at stadiums severely limits the amount of trash cans or waste receptacles nearby entrances due to the threat of a receptacle being used as a place to hide explosives.

The argument set forth — or at least the observation — is that if fans had more places to throw away their trash, they wouldn’t have been so callous to use the Stone memorial as a makeshift trash can.

At the same time, how hard is it to look around and find a garbage can. There has to be some around somewhere. Let’s just hope this was more a demonstration of extreme laziness than outright disrespect.