- Associated Press - Friday, July 8, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - A man fell out of the stands reaching for a baseball tossed his way during the Texas Rangers‘ game Thursday night and dropped about 20 feet to the ground.

The fan landed out of sight from the field, behind the 14-foot-high wall that has a video board that shows replays and scores from other games.

The Rangers said the fan was taken to a Fort Worth hospital after getting medical attention from ballpark staff. They did not identify the man or release details on his condition.

The accident happened in the second inning after Oakland’s Conor Jackson hit a foul ball that ricocheted into left field. Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton retrieved the ball and tossed it to the stands.

Replays on Oakland’s television broadcast clearly show the man reaching for the ball and apparently catching it before tumbling into a gap of several feet between the outfield wall and the front row of seats, which are higher than the wall. The man fell head-first.

There was an audible gasp from the crowd when the man went over the rail.

Ronnie Hargis was sitting next to the man, who was at the game with his young son. The men had been talking to each other before the accident.

“He went straight down. I tried to grab him but I couldn’t. I tried to slow him down a little bit,” Hargis said.

Hargis’ daughter said the victim’s head was bleeding badly.

Safawna Dunn, who was sitting behind the victim, said he appeared to have injuries to both arms and was conscious when taken away on a stretcher.

“Josh Hamilton tried to throw (the ball) up to the guy because they were yelling for the ball,” Dunn said.

Last July at Rangers Ballpark, a fan fell 30 feet from the second deck of seats down the first base side while trying to catch a foul ball. That fan, Tyler Morris, suffered a fractured skull and sprained ankle.

After Morris was hurt last year, he called the incident a “100 percent, total accident that could have happened to anybody.” He said he didn’t blame the Rangers or the ballpark.


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