ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers issued an apology late Monday after a photo of trash piled up on a memorial statue caused a social media uproar on opening day.
The photo shows beer bottles and cans strewn across the bottom of a statue at the home plate gate dedicated to the memory of Shannon Stone.
"Extremely disappointed in disrespectful fans," wrote Deana Waldrop OHearn, who shared the photo. "Shannon was a friend of mine and this is unacceptable."
The Brownwood firefighter died after falling from the stands in 2011 while trying to catch a ball from then Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Unveiled in 2012, the statue is a tribute to Stone and his young son, Cooper, who witnessed the fall.
The conditions around the statue were first reported by News 8 after the game, when the station received a tweet from a Rangers fan disappointed by what she saw.
It immediately led to thousands of comments on the WFAA-TV Facebook page. Many people expressed shock and saddeness by what they considered a lack of respect by fans.
In a statement, Rangers spokesperson John Blake apologized for the trash pile-up, and promised action in the future.
“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.”