Denton County firefighter who fell at Rangers game in fair condition

Ballpark fall

Credit: AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

Rescue workers wheel away a fan who fell out of the second deck into the seating area below while leaning to catch a foul ball at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Tuesday night.

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by JOHN F. RHODES

The Dallas Morning News

Posted on July 7, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 8 at 12:29 AM

ARLINGTON - A fan, who fell from the second deck while attempting to catch a foul ball, is taken away by paramedics during Tuesday's game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Tyler Morris, who works for Lake Cities Fire Department, remained at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, said hospital spokeswoman Diana Carroll. The nature of his injuries was not disclosed. Fire department deputy chief Chad Thiessen said the family has asked for privacy.

Morris fell about 30 feet onto fans sitting in field-level seats while leaning to catch a foul ball during the Rangers' game against Cleveland. Four fans received first aid for minor injuries, the Rangers said Tuesday.

After the fifth-inning incident, Morris was responsive and able to move all of his extremities.

Team spokesman John Blake said the railing surrounding the second deck at Rangers Ballpark is 32 inches high. Railings around the upper decks were raised to 46 inches after a woman fell in 1994. The man hurt Tuesday was sitting in section 235.

"You are concerned for the individual that it happened to and the people who might have been injured in the fall," team president Nolan Ryan said. "I think we're very fortunate that it wasn't worse that it was."

Nelson Cruz was batting with two outs against Justin Masterson when he lofted a foul ball down the first-base line and into Section 235. The ball sailed some three rows above the fan's head and caromed back toward the field of play.

The fan reached for the ball, lost his balance and went over the railing. He fell onto the ribbon of video boards that encircle the lower-suites level and somersaulted forward toward the lower bowl.

He appeared to land on his right side against a few rows of seats.

Emergency personnel was quick to respond and had removed the man within 10 minutes. Four other fans who were injured by his fall were treated at the first-aid station in the ballpark and were not transported to the hospital.

One of the injured, a boy, suffered a bruise to his face, said Ryan.

The game was stopped for 16 minutes, and several players on the field looked shaken.

The game resumed shortly after 8:45 p.m. Cruz singled to left field, and Vladimir Guerrero was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Cruz wasn't available after the game. Masterson said he saw the fall and thought it might have affected some of the players.

"I'm sure in some way it did," he said. "It's not something you see at the ballpark, and you never want to again."

Said Indians manager Manny Acta: "It was just tough to watch. It didn't affect the outcome of the game at all, but I think the guys were pretty relieved when we got news that the guy was conscious and he was OK.

"I think everybody went back to normal when we got news that he was conscious because we were anticipating something worse. A fatality could have happened there, and you don't want to be a witness to it."

On April 11, 1994, at the Rangers' first official game at The Ballpark, Hollye Minter, 26, of Plano was posing for a photo on the upper-deck railing in right field when she fell about 35 feet onto a front-row seat below.

After Minter's fall, the Rangers posted hundreds of warning signs on railings and replaced the original 3 1/4-inch railing on the upper deck with one 46 inches high.

Minter, who suffered a broken arm, two broken ribs and fractures to bones in her neck, sued the Rangers, the city of Arlington, a Dallas architectural firm and a Washington, D.C., architect for $200,000 after the incident.

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